EWU clubs and organizations face uncertainty as COVID-19 cancellations grow


Photo obtained from the SAIL Facebook page

Groups like SAIL and the Club Sports Federation have had to make adjustments in this uncertain time.

By Ben Blakney, Reporter

The coronavirus (or COVID-19) has impacted the world in an unforgettable way. One of the ways it has affected the EWU student body is the closure of campus and all in-person clubs and organizations. This umbrella includes intramural sports, student-lead organizations and facilities such as EPIC Adventures and the University Recreation Center.

EWU clubs and orgs have had to put forth efforts and adaptations as best they can. Christina Sosa, adviser for Campus Programs for Student Activities, Involvement, and Leadership (SAIL), provided insight for curious EWU students.

“We’ll be doing a lot more things virtually,” said Sosa.

SAIL heads a large number of EWU responsibilities, ranging anywhere from facilitating the URC to assisting Greek Life. Seeing as how a majority of SAIL’s bread and butter is on-campus activities, the transition to an online format has been an interesting one, to say the least.

“Students are needing to connect at this time,” said Sosa, on the topic of the online transition. “We were able to purchase an (advanced) license through Zoom, that allows students to host events that can have over 50 people attend, which is very important for, say, organizations that have over 100 members.” 

Now more so than ever, people are reaching out and connecting with their close friends and families, bringing socially distanced communication to centerstage.

For clubs that run almost 100% in-person, like EPIC Adventures, the online transition is not exactly conducive. Madison Kinder is EPIC’s Outdoor Program Coordinator.

“EPIC Adventures is Eastern’s outdoor program,” said Kinder.  “It is essentially an outdoor activity guide service and rental operation for EWU students. Our goal is to get students outside. We love to introduce students to activities they have never tried before, and help students travel to parts of our region they may not have explored otherwise.”

With a majority of U.S. state parks and other outdoor activities withheld due to shutdown, this puts a significant damper on EPIC’s functions. 

Kinder said EPIC will not be offering trips in May.

“We are still unsure of what June will look like, but we will follow the direction of the university in the coming weeks to make that determination,” said Kinder. “When our building opens back up, we hope to start offering rental equipment again. We have been active on our social media sharing resources, tutorials, etc. so you can follow us there to stay in touch.”

Despite this, some EWU students are still trailblazing on their own club fronts.

“Interestingly enough, I’m still receiving emails about students still interested in starting clubs at this time,” said Sosa.

EWU has taken many steps to move its presence online. This however, begs the question, what sorts of aspects of EWU life cannot be transferred online? Travis Allen, Club Sports Coordinator, shared his perspectives on the obstacles he’s encountered.

“It’s tough to see all these students impacted; that want to go get together and go practice, they want to be able to do the thing that they love,” said Allen.

The social distancing directives received have affected EWU students in a variety of ways, but Allen noted this lack is especially detrimental to athletes.

“With social gathering restrictions, it’s just not possible,” said Allen.

Allen brought up EWU’s club baseball team as a group that is especially affected by mass cancellations.

“We were expected to have a really good baseball team this year,” said Allen. “One win away from going to the Collegiate Club World Series … those seniors aren’t gonna have that opportunity this year.”