CWU clubs affected by COVID-19

Milenne Quinonez, Staff Reporter

Due to COVID-19, many activities at CWU have been canceled or forced to meet via Zoom. Although the changes happened suddenly there are clubs that have persevered through the shift to virtual meetings and continue to meet there now.

Mykenna Stougard, President of the Rodeo Club, is in charge of organizing practices, running meetings, looking over and approving budgets and communicating with the college association. 

“Rodeo is an outlet; I mean it’s like going to the gym for other people. It’s an outlet to get away from life or stress or you know whatever, amidst it all it’s something that can be really calming. It’s really unfortunate that we have had to sacrifice that because of this pandemic,” Stougard said.

Before COVID-19, the club was meeting twice a week and having monthly team meetings to go over goals and budgets. The club would participate in four or five rodeos throughout the season. 

“We have not been allowed to compete at all. CWU will not allow us to travel. We are the only school in the league, in the state that is not allowing for rodeo members to compete,” Stougard said. 

According to Stougard, every other university is allowing members to compete. The club has been pushing the university to allow them to compete, but they have been met with a lot of resistance. Stougard said rodeo is an individual sport, and everybody is on horses which means members are not within six feet of one another.

CWU rodeo club has about 25 members, not including students that have graduated. 

“It’s hard because there is a lot of frustration. There is a certain academic requirement that you have to meet, there’s a lot of time put into this. There’s a lot of time and sweat and hard work, and then to have it all ripped away and disregarded is just really brutal,” Stougard said. “I know that it has definitely had an effect on some of our team’s mental health, it is the one place in a lot of our lives that we find joy, the light of life and just what we live for.” 

Andie Waterson, a member from the Rodeo club, said when she first started at CWU, she didn’t know a single person and being an out of state student made it even more difficult. She said participating in practices and rodeos allowed her to immediately feel included and made the transition into college a lot smoother.  

“I miss supporting and being supported by other members of the club and competing for the school,” Waterson said. 

President Erynn Brown of Her Campus said that it was interesting, as a club that meets regularly in person, to pitch story ideas when switching to Zoom. 

“When you’re pitching meetings, we kind of just shout out ideas when they come to us, and it was interesting to see how we could do that with not having everyone talking over each other and interrupting each other,” Brown said. 

As a solution, the club decided to instead pitch story ideas over chat. 

Erynn Brown has been on the board of Her Campus since fall of 2018, and a member since winter of 2018. She transferred to CWU from the University of Washington. 

Brown said she really wanted to find a group of girls that were like-minded that she would get along with, and ended up finding Her Campus through the explore page of Instagram.

With over 20 members in Her Campus there were some changes that needed to be made to follow new health and safety protocols. Every quarter, for example, Her Campus likes to do a photoshoot for members.

“I decided to get a backdrop and just do headshots in my apartment,” Brown said. “We had girls coming one by one with masks on, we sanitized before and after they came into my apartment and it was just me one on one with them.” 

Brown said it was a fun way to get to know each person, since as the president, she wants to be able to interact with each one of them.

Brown said at the start of the pandemic, the club was barely able to meet. With different leadership at the time, they had to quickly figure out a way to continue. Not meeting often led to girls dropping the club, and Her Campus ended last year with around six members, according to Brown. During fall quarter of 2020, the club decided to do heavy recruitment.

“We saw a decent amount of membership gain throughout that time which was really interesting because you know people aren’t on campus and the people who are on campus don’t get to meet anywhere, so it was like do people still want to do this?” Brown said. “I think because we have such an opportunity for girls to write and publish articles on a professional website, we were still able to get members because of that.”

During Her Campus recruitment they have an application process and students are given three prompts and are expected to choose two of those prompts to write a 200-word essay. The board then looks over them and the president and vice president meet with students they choose and continue from there.