As Samford welcomes students back on campus, social distancing guidelines have taken effect, reshaping many aspects of student life. One of these aspects is student organizations, especially those with substantial membership.
Brice Boyer, president of English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta, said he is confident that new guidelines will not deter the organization’s camaraderie.
“Though this goal is made a tad more difficult with social distancing and masks, we are still determined to bring the English department together in a safe manner,” Boyer said.
Sigma Tau Delta will be continuing with normal activities, but with slight modifications like holding Tea Time outside and attending virtual conferences. They will also be hosting contests over social media.
Air Force ROTC commander, Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Payne, suggested the shift to increased virtual use has made meetings easier.
“In some senses, the virtual capabilities have minimized the challenges of deconflicting schedules and getting everyone together in the same place at the same time,” Lt. Col. Payne said.
Routine counseling and lectures are now held via virtual platforms with digital documentation. Air Force ROTC still meets in person when it is necessary for training, but with strict regulations to ensure safety.
“At all events we have a screening station setup that utilizes the University’s HealthCheck app and passport for admission. Masks, sanitization, and social distancing are required and enforced by the cadet leadership throughout the event,” Lt. Col. Payne explained.
Director of Greek Life, Julie Mincey, said fraternities and sororities are following Samford’s guidelines for events in person, but many events will be virtual.
“A lot of chapters will be hosting virtual events for their membership,” Mincey said. “Some are required to only host virtual options due to national guidelines from their organization.”
In contrast to the hybrid tactics of other organizations, Disability Rights, Education, Activism and Mentorship founder Bailey Deavers said that all meetings will be virtual to ensure students’ safety.
Boyer, Payne, Mincey and Deavers all agree that in the event students are sent home before the end of the semester, their organizations will continue in a virtual format.
“Actually, last semester, we learned how to adapt our Tea Time, our flagship event, to Zoom. We held two meetings online, and while we did long to see each other in person, it definitely was better than nothing,” Boyer said. “Simply seeing the smiling faces of people who I had class with but a month before was divine.”
Mincey shared Boyer’s enthusiasm, confident that Greek Life will continue to thrive no matter the circumstances.
“When this happened in the spring, the chapters really stepped up and continued brotherhood and sisterhood from afar,” Mincey said.
This sentiment holds true for all leaders of Samford organizations who are tasked with navigating an unprecedented situation this semester.
“We are challenging our cadets to take this opportunity to build leadership experience in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment that is not unlike leadership challenges they will face after they commission as officers,” Payne said.