Campus clubs struggle as they continue to operate online

El Camino College’s (ECC) clubs and organizations have fully transitioned online this semester in accordance with the college’s shutdown due to COVID-19.

Meetings for these clubs and organizations will be held virtually via Zoom, along with the Inter-Club Council’s (ICC) signature annual events such as Club Rush. Though clubs and organizations have been operating online since last spring semester when the shutdown began, they are still experiencing various obstacles.

Inter-Club Council (ICC) President and business administration major Makayla Propst noted that many clubs haven’t been very active after shifting online, making it harder to get in contact with them.

“I would say getting in contact with the clubs has been the most difficult part since being virtual,” Propst said. “We’re trying to come up with a variety of different solutions. We’ve emailed all the club advisors and now we’ve started our outreach on Instagram.”

Brandon Vela, ICC Director of Activities and aerospace engineering major, also faces challenges with coming up with successful activities for students to engage in online.

“The biggest challenge for my position, in an online environment, is creating events that will both be successful to use for possibly next year [and] also to have a lot of people show up,” Vela said.

Similarly, the Metro Lieutenant Governor for Circle K International Club Matthew Ujemov, business and recreation major, is also worried about the level of participation in club events.

“My biggest concern for the clubs is a lack of engagement. I’m scared that, because we’re in an online-only format, it’s easy to not go to something,” Ujemov said. “Now that it’s online-only, it’s more like ‘Oh, I forgot that there’s a Zoom call,’ rather than ‘Oh, I forgot to drive out to something.'”

While low participation and engagement are a concern, some clubs that involve necessary in-person activities are concerned with the change of operations now that they have to fully function online. Iota Kappa Chi, a student organization that offers opportunities to nursing students, is one of those clubs.

“Our club focuses on volunteer opportunities so it’s gonna be really difficult to gain those volunteer experiences. A lot of our volunteer activities were in-person so now it’s just a lot of donating so it doesn’t feel like we’re doing much as a club. It’s more individualized and I think that’s kind of a bummer to see,” Ryan Ausland, nursing major and President of Iota Kappa Chi, said.

Along with the concerns about how clubs will manage, Propst is also worried about how the students of El Camino are doing mentally and emotionally after the sudden shift online.

“For some students, this is the worst time period for them ever in their lives. You gotta think some students have been all alone since March, so it’s really hard,” Propst said. “I’m really passionate about student engagement and student involvement so it’s really hard to see students struggling so much. And there’s not too much that we can do except be there for them as a listening ear or support in any way we can.”

Despite the apprehensions felt by leaders of El Camino’s clubs and organizations for their success this semester, they are still able to get things done and have “hope that it will all just works out in the right way,” Ausland said.

Correction: The words “Student Support Expo” have been removed from the first paragraph on Sept. 9.

Matthew Ujemov’s major has been corrected to say business and recreation, rather than a double┬ámajor in business and recreation on Sept. 9.