Return to in-person means return of in-person clubs

UMSU’s Get Involved campaign to promote student engagement

Student clubs, many of which faced challenges over the past two years, are back in-person at the U of M.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sierra Hutchison, the French volunteer engagement assistant coordinator for Let’s Talk Science — a volunteer group, which provides workshops to K-12 students in Winnipeg and surrounding areas — says she was unable to have face-to-face interactions with other members. She fears finding new volunteers will be a challenge.

“We’ve always found a way to find volunteers and it always does work out, it’s just now that there’s transportation involved I’m not sure it’s going to be as accessible,” she said.

While students have expressed excitement over being back on campus, Hutchison is worried that a lack of socialization over the last two years may also lead to issues with recruitment and member commitment.

“A lot of students are just so used to not really leaving the campus or leaving their homes,’’ she said.

When addressing these concerns about member recruitment, UMSU vice-president student life Tracy Karuhogo said it is important to get creative with recruitment and club activities.

UMSU’s upcoming Get Involved campaign is a prime way Karuhogo plans to get information about student clubs out to students.

She explained that during the campaign, running from Sept. 19 to 23, student club executives have the opportunity to promote their organizations to students.

“I’ve been telling clubs, ‘get involved, sign up to be on this campaign because students are waiting for you’ and we see right now that we have over 50 clubs signed up, which is amazing,” she said.

“So many students have been asking me ‘How can I get involved in a club?’ And what I tell them first is on September 22 you’re going to find all these clubs on the quad, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.”

For the students who are still unsure about joining a club, Karuhogo suggested several reasons you might want to give one a try.

“You get to meet other people. You get to improve on your skills, it could be public speaking, it could be project management, it could be planning events” she said.

“Clubs [are] one of the best ways I think any student should start.”