Student organizations struggle with participation during the pandemic

Student involvement in campus organizations has decreased during the pandemic.

Melanie Ramirez

Student involvement in campus organizations has decreased during the pandemic.

Tania Ortiz, Opinion Editor

Student life has drastically been impacted during the pandemic. Since the campus has been closed for almost a year, the “Zoom university” era has created hurdles for campus clubs to thrive.

Clubs have resorted to social media to gain traction amongst students and hopefully gain membership along the way. While the pandemic has proved that students could adapt to an online learning environment, it may be proving otherwise for student involvement.

 As we all know, it is not the same to learn behind a screen as physically being in class. The same  goes for club activities. 

When we are on campus, we feel more compelled to participate in activities sponsored by clubs. It’s harder to expect people to join in and participate in meetings or events during the pandemic because many students have other priorities. Especially during these times, our focus has been on staying safe and ensuring we cruise through our classes with ease.

Similar to how we haven’t necessarily benefited from online classes due to the digital barriers, the same can happen in club meetings, meaning awkward silences and lack of overall participation from club members and any internet problems that may arise in between. The awkward silences are not the best, especially if the conversations fall flat; it’s easy just to mute yourself and carry on with something else on your end.

While it’s very likely that involvement in clubs and student organizations on campus has decreased due to the pandemic, clubs are trying their best to provide a sense of normalcy during a time that can be defined as otherwise.

Students should try to participate in clubs and organizations that have been meeting throughout the pandemic. 

Granted, it may not feel the same, but at least students have the opportunity to interact with the CSUSM community beyond their classes. Especially for those who have transferred from a community college or are barely getting a taste of college life, it is important to find a club to feel integrated into campus life. 

While we are expected to return to campus next fall, the pandemic has proven that things can change in an instant. 

Students should not waste the opportunity to participate in a club, especially if they are looking to network for their career path or make more friends. Often, clubs make students feel like they belong to a community and build connections with people who share advice. 

Once we return to campus, expect many students wanting to participate in student life at all levels, whenever that is. Students feel deprived of the lack of normalcy taken away due to the pandemic. But if you are looking to find a club or organization to be a part of once we get back to campus, it’s a good idea to start now.

Tania Ortiz is the Opinion Editor for The Cougar Chronicle. She is a senior at CSUSM as a communication major. Tania plans to pursue a job in the media industry after graduation. In her free time, she enjoys reading, going on runs and spending time with friends.