Reinvigorated student organizations see upswing in participation

October 25, 2021

Hundreds of students on the quad during an involvement event.

After social distancing for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Quinnipiac students are enthusiastically diving back into campus life.

Quinnipiac's 100+ active student organizations are up in participation, and about 30 pending organizations are anxious to launch, said Associate Director of Campus Life, Student Centers and Student Involvement Hannah Cranston.

“When the students came back, student leaders were really excited, and jumped right into organizing events,” said Cranston. “There was a longing for connection in the student population.”

While masks are still required indoors on campus, students can attend in-person events. For those that may be uneasy about participating in larger group activities, organizations are still using virtual tools to create a hybrid experience, explained Cranston.

Undoubtedly, the lack of human interaction during the worst of COVID-19 is inspiring an increase in socialization on campus. However, student organizations have also found new ways to facilitate interest and develop relationships with potential members, said Cranston.

“Promotion is not as in your face, like ‘Here’s our organization,’ loud and proud. Participants started to focus on getting to know each other, and how each person’s story fits into an organization,” said Cranston. “There’s a different vibe around how to attract members. Students learned the importance of communicating with each other.”

Participation is up for students at all levels of the university. Freshmen are excited to join groups after a quiet high school senior year, and sophomores are anxious to make up for a somewhat disappointing first-year experience, said Cranston.

“Upperclassmen are joining in more after their freshmen and sophomore years weren’t so great. I’ve also seen individuals who lacked interest their freshmen year now excited to join an organization,” said Cranston.

Organization leaders are also encouraged by the upswing in participation. There are more volunteers for events and a better discourse around possible events now that in-person meetings have resurfaced, according to Student Programming Board (SPB) President Shannon Flaherty ‘22.

The SPB serves as Quinnipiac's main programming board, promoting events and groups campus-wide. Participating committees include Marketing, Travel, Arts & Entertainment, Late Night, Traditions & Community, Mainstage and Culture & Conversation.

“I really appreciate the increase of participation from our members because you can see who wants to be more involved and who is putting in effort,” said Flaherty. "This will help in selecting representatives for SPB’s upcoming conference, as well as filling open executive board seats in Spring ’22."

Students are also more apt to engage and share their ideas for new events and improvements in person, as opposed through a screen, explained Flaherty.

Members of QTHON, a Quinnipiac organization dedicated to raising funds for the Children’s Center, are also excited to welcome back live events this semester.

“Students are very enthusiastic that we are back on campus, so we are taking these opportunities to spread more awareness about joining QTHON,” said QTHON 2022 Management and Executive Director Marley McClure ’22. “I hope to see the largest number of students participating in QTHON, as last year there were many limitations due to COVID-19.”

Ultimately, the increased interest in student organizations benefits the whole campus community.

“It is refreshing for a staff member fatigued by the pandemic to see students enthusiastic about their university. The activity is energizing for faculty and staff to see,” said Cranston.

Many organizations are using the Fall ’21 semester to regroup and plan for what promises to be a bustling Spring ’22, she said.

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