Professors exchange their lecture halls for Zoom links, seniors convert their walk across the stage to a walk to the mailbox for their diploma, but there’s no virtual trade-off for leaders of student organizations. The students who started attending general body meetings as an over-involved freshman evolved into members of the org’s executive board.
After months of preparation and planning, these events won’t be held.
“It was really disappointing to hear that Women’s History Month wasn’t going to happen this year,” said Amber Bond, co-director of Women’s History Month for the University of Florida’s Women’s Student Association. “It was heartbreaking to hear.” Luckily for WSA, two events of the many planned took place before the cancelations sent in and campus converted to an online format, including the opening ceremony for Women’s History Month.
“We celebrated women of the past, present and future,” Bond said. “We wanted entertainment and really empowering and strong speakers.” Bond was grateful to have seen the event she worked on come into fruition, but unfortunately, it was only one of the ways she intended on celebrating March. “We are really grateful for our community,” Bond said. “We are celebrating on social media but it’s just not the same.” Through online formats, we get to stay connected to our peers, but we ultimately miss out on that face-to-face connection.
WSA is just one of the student organizations trying to spread positivity to its members.
The Bangladeshi Student Association canceled its annual International Mother Language Day show, set to take place on March 14. “Not being able to have this event was pretty devastating because of its significance not only to our organization but also to our large community,” said Upal Bose, UF senior and president of BSA. “The purpose of our International Mother Language Day show is to be able to showcase diversity, as we bring together as many cultures as possible from around the world to celebrate the diversity around our campus.” Bose hoped this event would be successful in celebrating the growth of the executive board and the organization as a whole.
“There were so many people that were involved with making this possibly one of the best shows that the organization has ever had,” Bose said. “It is a shame that we were unable to see the potential of the show through to the end.” While disappointed, the students recognize the necessity of canceling large gatherings. “Our organization has tried to keep in touch with members and encourage everyone to take the proper protocols necessary, as advised by the university,” Bose said. “The seriousness of the situation should not be overlooked, and our organization will do the best it can to make sure we help in this effort to overcome this pandemic.”
Many seniors ended the school year without getting to enjoy the moments they’ve been planning for their past four years at the university.
Seniors in Greek Life will miss formal, senior week, date functions and senior banquet. “It’s disappointing that I don’t get to do everything that normal seniors would get to do and have the remaining time spent with my friends,” said Shannon Bender, UF senior and member of Delta Phi Epsilon. “I would’ve had two more months to say goodbyes but some of my friends I didn’t even get to say goodbye to.”
Many UF students traveled back to their hometowns, but while other students decided to savor what was left of her senior year. “I FaceTime my friends a lot, that way we can still keep in touch,” Bender said. “I’ve also decided to stay in Gainesville for the rest of the semester, so I take walks through campus almost every day just to feel some sort of normalcy.” We are doing our best to come together and stay positive during these trying times, but at the end of the day, it sucks. Things students looked forward to for four years of their college careers have just disappeared.