As the fall semester approaches, the Student Activities Board (SAB) will continue to make plans for its events for the year, and will figure out if it will be able to host face-to-face events or continue with virtual programs.
Lilah El-Halabi, an incoming junior computer science major who serves as the SAB President, said the SAB has continued to have virtual events for the time being, which are hosted on its social media accounts. She said these events include online trivia nights and Bingo.
El-Halabi said the SAB will monitor the COVID-19 situation throughout the fall semester and decide if it wants to host in-person events, and figure out how it can host these events safely.
“It kind of depends on if we (SAB) can execute an event safely, or if we can have bigger groups of people together. We’ll definitely be hosting safe events on campus. That could kind of range from outdoor movies that are a drive-in theater or our make your own events where you can pick things up and do it on your own at home. Whatever we’re able to do, we will definitely do,” El-Halabi said.
The SAB hosted a few events during virtual freshmen orientation, which had its last round on June 6, El-Halabi said. These events included a trivia night where freshmen were able to join and play through their phones and laptops, as well as an online caricature, which was done over Zoom. She said the SAB had a magician who performed over YouTube Live.
The SAB’s virtual events have seen a decent amount of participation, El-Halabi said. She said some events can see around 20 to 30 participants, while some may see less.
“I want to say that our events have been well attended for the virtual program. It’s really hard to justify the same numbers we would be getting with face-to-face interaction versus virtual interaction. I think a lot of schools are still struggling with the idea of virtual programming, and I’m lucky to see even five people join sometimes,” El-Halabi said.
Regardless of the turnout, El-Halabi said the SAB has gotten a lot of positive feedback from students and faculty members who have participated in online events. She said she believes these events help give people something to do during the pandemic.
El-Halabi said the SAB’s first goal for its fall events, whether held virtually or face-to-face, is the safety of students and faculty members who participate. She said the organization wants its participants to enjoy themselves.
“Honestly, (the goal) is just for people to have a good time. I know that there are a lot of things that are changing next year, there’s a lot of things still up in the air. So, it’s just another opportunity for you to get your mind off things,” El-Halabi said. “The normal things we do on campus, we want to figure out how we can do that off campus and virtually.”
El-Halabi said she believes students and faculty members should attend SAB’s events to help them feel closer with the Pirate community, and for freshmen, to give them a feel of how campus life is at ECU.
Miriam Harb, junior computer science major, serves as the chairperson for the SAB’s Features Committee, a new committee SAB recently added.
“The whole point of Features is just to bring culture and diversity to campus and just be more inclusive through an educational platform as well as showing films,” Harb said.
SAB plans to continue to host film events, which it usually hosts every week in the Hendrix Theater, Harb said, but due to social distancing, the films will be held every other week either online or as a drive-in theater event.
Harb said the drive-in theater event would allow SAB to host face-to-face events, without having a lot of people together in one area and having to kick people out due to capacity limits.
“I’ve always wanted to do a drive-in theater, so I thought it would be a cool idea to enhance our previous events that we have done in the past. In the past we have done apartment bingo and grocery bingo. Those will be hopefully done through an Instagram Live, just because we don’t want to have any students miss out on events due to capacity,” Harb said.
Attending the SAB’s online and in-person events can help students and faculty members keep their mind off things and have a good time, Harb said. She said she believes the SAB will be able to offer fun and educational events throughout the school year, and is looking forward to seeing what the Features committee will do.
“We (SAB) are bringing back the traditional events as well because we don’t want to wipe those out because they are pretty popular. I would like to do more events that include culture and diversity, but as far as the pandemic, that’s still in the process of planning,” Harb said.