Student organizations adjust to university’s “Phase 4” protocols

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Marquette Wire stock photo

Certain protocols — outlined in Marquette’s Phase 4 recovery plan — have forced student organizations to rethink how they’ll be able to host meetings and events this semester.

Some of these restrictions on gatherings include an event cap of 50 people, a university approval requirement for campus events and a general encouragement to hold meetings virtually whenever possible in order to de-densify campus. 

A clause within the Marquette University Student Pledge and community standards states that students who participate in any events that aren’t virtual vouch to “observe the physical distancing guidelines and other COVID-19 Safety Protocols adopted by the university.” 

The university is also not allowing events sponsored by “outside groups” on campus, according to the Phase 4 recovery plan, such as when personalities Danny Pudi or Antoni Porowski came to campus last year. 

“After the university announced their decision to limit gathering to 50 or fewer people, we needed to adjust some of our plans for programming,” Marquette University’s Student Government Programming Vice President Alex Schmidt said.

Marquette University Student Government has had to shift its senate meetings to an entirely online format in order to comply with the university guidelines. The only time MUSG will be in-person interaction will be during office hours for one on one interactions.

MUSG’s President Sara Manjee said the club’s elections this year will look a lot different from last year. Debates this year will occur without a live audience, however, she encourages all students to attend virtually whenever they are announced.

Another group that has been affected by the recent guidelines has been the Marquette University Players Society. 

MUPS is the university’s oldest student-run organization, which hosts events like student-run theater productions available for students.

However, due to the restrictions on gatherings of groups of 50 or more, the organization had to figure out workarounds in order to abide by the university’s new rules.

“Our main priority right now is keeping our peers safe,” Maaz Ahmed, a junior in College of Communication and artistic director of MUPS, said. “Our goal is to spend this time trying to bring Marquette’s theater community together by finding socially distant ways to connect with each other.”

Ahmed said MUPS’s production work this semester will be based online. One idea that is being pushed is virtual stage readings of original student plays. 

Despite the challenges and unprecedented times the organization faces, Ahmed is optimistic in the organization’s ability to continue with its shows and adjust accordingly. 

“The uncertainty is difficult, but I’m certain our community will thrive in spite of it,” Ahmed said.

Intramural sports were also affected by the guidelines put in place by the university. They were not only required to follow the university’s guidelines but the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Administration’s as well.

NIRSA is a group that supports collegiate recreational and intramural sports for universities across the country, according to its website.

The guidelines set will suspend the play of high contact sports for the fall semester, including basketball and soccer, but will still allow other sports such as bags, kickball and singles tennis leagues.

“I hope students getting together socially distant to play a game of pickleball or tennis will relieve some of that tension and make life seem a bit more normal,” Anne Pufhal, assistant director of Intramural Sports, said.

Despite the unforeseen circumstances of the semester, Manjee said to lean on all appropriate resources at the time, like the Office of Engagement and Inclusion and other upperclassmen to help adjust to the online model most clubs are undertaking.

“You’re going to have to take a little more initiative to find organizations that fit your interests, but once you do, you will have another place to call home on campus,” Manjee said.

This story was written by Benjamin Wells, he can be reached at benjamin.wells@marquette.edu