Michigan Tech moves ‘Involvement Zone’ event to campus
HOUGHTON (AP) — With COVID-19, student organizations face obstacles both in getting the word out, and in conducting their usual activities.
They got help with the first of those Sept. 11 with Michigan Technological University’s first K-Day event, branded “The Involvement Zone.”
On the usual K-Day, students spend a Friday afternoon at an off-campus site visiting booths set up by campus organizations. With COVID-19 restrictions, Tech instead moved K-Day onto campus and split it up over six sessions, according to The Daily Mining Gazette.
Campus groups set up booths from noon to 2 p.m.; after everything was sanitized, a second set of groups came in from 3 to 5 p.m.
“Everything’s gone really well,” said Rochelle Spencer, assistant director of student leadership and involvement. “People have been really great at following the social distancing expectations and still meeting different organizations and learning about how they can get involved.”
This year also added a virtual component, where club representatives on Zoom talk with interested students.
This year’s sessions had 25 student groups; the subsequent ones will have 20, as classes will still be going on.
Clubs reported close to the same level of interest in their booths as at regular K-Days.
“We’ve had lots of interesting people,” said Clare LaLonde, a fourth-year student with Michigan Tech’s chapter of Circle K International. “The first-years seem really eager to join.”
For in-service activities, the group spreads out, uses hand sanitizer and wears gloves, LaLonde said.
While the club is still trying to do in-person activities, about half so far have been online, LaLonde said.
“It’s different, but I think we’re still getting the same amount of service in,” she said.
Online activity has included Freerice, where correct trivia answers translate to donations for food, and Color a Smile, where they print off coloring paper, then send the finished drawings to groups in need of cheering up. Fourth-year student Sarah Anderson has also been tutoring local children over Zoom.
“I do it a couple times a week, and it just allows me to help the kids in the community,” she said.
The MTU Pep Band actually saw more interest, which president-in-training Alissa Richardson attributed to the limits on band camp and the glut of orientation events that had taken place at the same time.