Clubs and organizations slowly recover from pandemic


Karmen Sperr, Reporter (She/Her)

South Dakota State University clubs and organizations are slowly returning to normal after COVID-19.

Like many things that were disrupted by the pandemic, club and organization involvement was put on pause in many cases for months and is now starting to return to normal as they try to get reinvolved on campus and in the community,

The biggest issue clubs and organizations faced throughout the pandemic was the constant changes in university protocol, said Katie Yunker, the program adviser for Fraternity and Sorority Life who also oversees clubs on campus. It was important that everyone knew and followed the rules, but it wasn’t easy.

“Clubs put their operations on pause,” Yunker said. “With the way the rules were changing, the way things were shifting wasn’t anybody’s fault, but anytime a club tried to plan an event everything would change.”

Because of the constant change that has accompanied that last year and a half, many clubs did not re register with Student Affairs. Now that things are starting to return to normal, some of these clubs and organizations are in the reactivation process, which involves various steps in the new-student organization process.

Despite the difficulties, there has been a trend of more clubs starting in the past few years. The number of clubs starting each year used to be about five to 10, according to Yunker. Since 2019, that number has jumped to 12 to 15 clubs a year.

Among the new clubs this year are the Jacked Rabbits and the Food Recovery Network. Both clubs focus on wellness and healthy eating.

As the name implies, the Jacked Rabbits club focuses on improving healthy habits by allowing people to feel more comfortable and confident in the gym.

“I just want to encourage people to become the best version of themselves possible,” said Nick Thompson, president of Jacked Rabbits. “I want people to be healthy and to experience the best parts of life.”

Thompson said his club provides opportunities for people who want to get back into the gym after the closures and difficulties associated with COVID-19.

The Food Recovery Network provides food for students on campus who may not have adequate access to nutritious food. Alexis Elfstrand, president of the Food Recovery Network, said her club provides this service by working with Aramark to individually package food that is left over from various on-campus catering events. The food will then be transported to Jacks Cupboard, where students can get it.

“What we want to do is provide good food, promote Jacks Cupboard and let students know about that resource on campus,” Elfstrand said.

Both club presidents said they are excited to get students involved in their clubs so they can have a positive effect on students’ lives.

This year is all about starting new, whether that be starting new clubs or restarting normal club operations.

“Clubs and organizations are relearning how to do everything from ground zero. It’s like we have a campus of all freshmen,” Yunker said. “Many students don’t remember the time before.”

As a way to help clubs return to normal, the Office for Student Engagement is bringing back the Student Organization Summit. Yunker said the event, which is open to all students, will allow club leaders and members to learn or be reminded about what it means to be a student organization, how to set up finances, how to recruit new members and many other things that will help organizations be the best they can be.

The Student Organization Summit is set for 2 to 7 p.m. Oct. 5. The event is on the second floor of the University Student Union in the Crazy Horse Lounge.

“We’re gonna go through the nuts and bolts of being a student organization,” Yunker said. “Because a lot of that muscle memory has been lost.”


Student Organization Summit

When: 2 to 7 p.m. Oct. 5

Where: Crazy Horse Lounge, University Student Union

Why: This event will allow the leaders of the clubs on campus to learn about what it means to be a student organization. Topics will include finances, recruitment and more.

Two new clubs: For more information about the Jacked Rabbits, contact Nick Thompson at [email protected]. For information about the Food Recovery Network, contact Alexis Elfstrand at [email protected]