Rider clubs and organizations detail how they are operating during a pandemic

Photo courtesy of Rider University
Rider clubs are continuing to hold a wide variety of events through Zoom and other video chatting platforms.

By Hailey Hensley

Students all over the world are facing new challenges in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Student leaders in particular face the unique responsibility of guiding their club or organization through completely uncharted territory.  

Many clubs and organizations on Rider’s campus are still running, at least to some capacity. Whether that simply be by virtually holding a weekly meeting or having public events over Zoom. 

Junior psychology major Ally Ward is the current president of the Rider University Veterans Association (RUVA). Ward says her organization is doing “the absolute best they can” during the circumstances and stressed the importance of staying connected. 

Kevin Huong, Ally Ward and Zane Birnie
Photo courtesy of Ally Ward
Like all clubs on campus, RUVA had to cancel a significant amount of events, including the Happy to be Here Comedy Show, a fundraiser for the Rider Veterans Fund.

“We [RUVA] have mostly been focused on socializing through Zoom. I hope to keep everyone in touch with each other and keep our group as tight-knit as possible. Everyone needs a friend right now,” she said. 

Junior musical theatre major Tessa Douglas is currently the special events coordinator for the Broncway, a student performance group. Douglas says the Broncway executive board is looking at a variety of options to remain involved in the campus community. 

“Since the school closed, the board has met weekly to talk about the ways we can engage students virtually. We posted a bingo board on Instagram and are even thinking about doing a 5k,” Douglas said. 

Nicole Ragone is a junior psychology major and a member of the Rider University chapter of Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a co-ed service fraternity.  Ragone clarified that while APO is much more effective with a physical presence, they are not being prevented from doing service. 

“A lot of the community service and work we do does involve physically being somewhere which has caused us to cancel events. We have not been discouraged and found other ways to move forward. We have always had online service opportunities but right now we are utilizing those opportunities more than ever,” Ragone said. 

Ragone is also the public relations director of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and stated that having that community available has been a positive force in her life during this time.

“Since school has closed we have been focusing on community more than ever. We hosted a prayer night in order to fellowship and support the campus in this time of need,” Ragone said. 

Ward emphasized the importance of having an involved advisor in these stressful times, stating that the advisor for RUVA Thomas Reddington has been “amazing” and very invested in members and all military-connected students.

“Tom [Thomas Reddigton] has reached out to every person individually to check on our mental well-being as well as any needs we might have. He joins our weekly Zoom calls and always asks about our school work and our families,” Ward said. 

Douglas clarified that while it was great Broncway is able to continue having some events and student engagement, it is nowhere near the same as being on campus. 

“The biggest part of Broncway is putting on shows,” she said. “Nothing can replace that. Nothing can replace something happening live, right in front of you.” 

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