Many student organizations had to take their activities virtual for the fall 2020 semester to limit the chance of COVID-19 spreading on campus; this included the semester event, OrgSmorg. The university and student organizations had different perspectives on how the event turned out and why some didn’t choose to participate.
OrgSmorg is an annual event that allows students to socialize with a variety of different student organizations on campus and build awareness of over 100 different student organizations. Student groups share information about their group with students while trying to recruit them at the same time. It usually takes place in the Phoenix Rooms; however, this year, it was on Collaborate Ultra, on September 8 and 9.
In fall of 2020, the campus has 128 student organizations, according to its student organization directory. Of those, only 62 participated in OrgSmorg, according to John Landrum, Program Coordinator for Student Life at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay (UWGB). John said, “the turnout was not what we hoped, and students had the ultimate choice if they wanted to participate or virtually visit.” He goes on to say, “The event was advertised more this semester than any other with the addition of the Chancellor’s mention at Convocation, mentions in freshman seminars, and it was brought up in the UWGB welcome week for freshman.” Student organizations that participated had their perspectives on how the event turned out as well.
“It wasn’t ideal, but it was the proper way to run the event, given the situation,” said Preston Fischer, President of the History and Honors Society. Preston described the set up stating, “the virtual set up was easy to operate…which made the situation more manageable”. Some organizations that didn’t participate are still recruiting, just in other ways.
Some student organizations decided not to participate in OrgSmorg. Chapter Liaison, Melissa Hamilton of Public Relations Student Society of America at UWGB, said, “we do usually participate in OrgSmorg. However, most of our recruiting comes from in-class visits”. Hence, she goes on to say, “we decided to focus our organization’s recruitment efforts elsewhere this semester, by creating a website, social media and redesigning our events.”
Emily DeLaurelle, Vice President of College Republicans on campus, decided as well not to participate in OrgSmorg. “In the past, the most practical way for us to get students involved is tabling on campus.” She still believes this works well for this semester. College Republicans have been tabling every week since the semester began, and has been seeing a lot of student traffic, however not as much as prior years, but that was expected. College Republicans is one of the few organizations that have done so.
This year is different for everyone on campus. But even so a sense of belonging and community is important for students on campus, according to a study titled “College Students’ Sense of Belonging: A National Perspective”, it just needs to be done in a safe, practical and creative way this year. For student organizations looking to still operate there is a frequent asked question page.
By: Matthew Knoke, Mackenzie Brown, Alexis Beck and Ben Newhouse
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