How are Committees Doing During Coronavirus?

By Thea Bladt Hansen

Photo: Emma Kappeyne

— The Coronavirus epidemic has forced the business and vibrancy of Science park to move to an online space. As a consequence, the AUC committees have had to alter their plans for events this semester and try to remain present via online formats. How have these sudden changes affected AUC’s committees? 

The AB is closed and all classes have been moved online for the rest of the semester. Committee representatives can no longer greet students walking down the stairs from the first floor and inform them of upcoming events and parties. As a solution, committees are trying to increase their online presence in order to stay in touch with the AUC community. 

OnStage, AUC’s performing arts committee, has been hit hard by the lockdown. Sarah Tjeerdsma, third-year Social Science major and chair of OnStage, explains: “We had quite a few events still planned for this academic year, including an Open Stage, multiple Jam Nights, and our big theatre production.” Due to current restrictions, OnStage has postponed or cancelled all events planned for this semester. Tjeerdsma explains that OnStage’s new initiative Quarantine Concerts is an attempt to provide the possibility for students to continue to show their performing arts talents. The first Quarantine concert took place on 30 April, and Tjeerdsma assures that there will be more to come in the following weeks. 

One can easily imagine how difficult it is to run a sports committee online, but Catch, AUC’s sports committee, tries to manage this task through posting weekly challenges on Facebook and Instagram. The Catch board explains that their goal with the challenges is to help students cope with quarantine: “We hope that through these tutorials we inspire students to stay fit, active, and motivated even in times of confinement.”

SlayUC, AUC’s dancing committee, had to cancel an event which was supposed to take place only two days after AUC transitioned to online lectures. The event was a trip to see a dance performance in Rotterdam and had been planned in collaboration with Junket, AUC’s trip and excursion committee. Apart from the city trip, the committee has cancelled a ballroom dance workshop, a salsa workshop and a beach trip.The SlayUC board continues to organise weekly dance classes – now via Zoom – and recently arranged an online 30 days split challenge.  

Cinephile students are used to gathering together at movie nights held by CUT, AUC’s film appreciation committee. CUT also had something new planned for this year: a film production of their own. The Coronavirus has put the production on hold, as the committee now focuses on making it possible for students to share cinematic experiences while apart. Ru Khan, second-year Social Science major and chair of CUT, describes how CUT is currently working on this: “Organization and planning for a “film club” is in the works, where participants all watch the same film and later discuss it over zoom. Our first discussion is set to happen next week on Friday [7 May].”

Usually the events hosted by PlayUC, AUC’s games committee, take place in a common room where students can gather around a game of Shitler or Cards Against Excellence. Per Movig, first-year Humanities major and secretary of PlayUC, explains how the committee has changed its events so they fit into an online format: “On 29 April we played Cards Against Humanity online, while voice chatting in our brand new PlayUC Discord. We intend to host more online events, like a Jackbox Party Games night or a Tabletop Simulator night.”

The Yearbook committee is struggling less than other committees, as they can still collect material for the annual yearbook online. However, Lara Riemens, third-year Science major and chair of the Yearbook board, admits that the situation is still difficult: “It’s definitely trickier than in other years, without a chance to have our final Photo Sessions. Getting people involved in the yearbook from a distance also isn’t the easiest – but we’re still getting by!”

After weeks of Zoom-conferences and too many close-ups of peers and professors, students may not yearn to spend their free time online as well. However, the committees are working hard to adapt and make it possible for students to keep sharing university experiences in spite of closed borders, different time-zones and current restrictions. They intend to continue their online presence and create options for students to find distraction or relief in virtual interactions. 

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