Chatham student clubs try to find their footing in the time of social distancing


Lillian Kubit

Students play a socially distanced game at ‘Drag Queen Bingo’ night, in early Sept.

Michaela DeLauter

The return to Chatham University’s campus during the COVID-19 pandemic has been marked with many changes. Classes went online, or to a hybrid style. Capacity limits were set in common areas, and clubs that focused on community gatherings were tasked with working through social distancing guidelines. 

For a club, like the Community Service Club, this showed to be difficult as its main focus is to get the Chatham community involved by hosting community service events on and off campus. 

This year, the plan is to hold some of the same events as last year, like one with Beverly’s Birthdays, an organization that spreads birthday cheer to children experiencing homelessness. This time, however, there will be social distancing guidelines in place. The group also plans to do a virtual collection jar for charity donations through GoFundMe.

This semester, the Community Service Club now meets online via Microsoft Teams the third Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m. and the third Thursday at 1 p.m. 

Another student-run organization is the Knitting Club, dedicated to making knitting and crochet accessible on campus by providing all materials to learn how to do it. However, similarly to the Community Service Club, this proved to be tricky this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. 

To combat this, members are now asked to sign out materials for the whole semester and keep them instead of bringing them back for each meeting. 

“We’re devastated we can’t be together,” Megan Minto, president of the Knitting Club, says. “We understand and still want people to join us. Our goal is to provide a relaxing and safe space for everyone to forget about the stressors of school and life.” 

The Knitting Club meets in person from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on the first Monday of each month in the main lounge in the Carriage House. It also holds bi-weekly meetings on Zoom. 

Chatham Student Government (CSG) is one of the most influential organizations on campus. It includes the elected representatives for each class. Normally, they would hold in-person town halls where they would hand out food and ask students their feedback on what should be addressed on campus.

Due to social distancing, the meetings are now virtual, with some events held in person on the quad. They meet every Thursdays on Zoom from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and anyone is welcome to attend. 

The Chatham Activities Board (CAB) is responsible for planning events on campus. 

For CAB, social distancing is the biggest challenge they face. Typically, they are responsible for hosting campus traditions, like the welcome dance, but this year that isn’t possible. However, for other traditions, like Drag Queen Bingo, CAB has found ways to still safely continue these events with social distancing strategies in place.

Although a limited number of people can attend in-person events indoors, there’s more room for people to safely gather together outside. Adjustments also have been made to some campus events so that people can participate through windows. 

Even with social distancing in place, the Chatham community is finding ways to still be together. 

Mars Touloumes, CSG’s executive president, says that in these unusual times it’s important for students to “keep fighting for what you believe in. If we all stand up and fight for what we believe we can get it how we want it.