( Photo / Zenith Shrestha )
Students wear masks while attending the M.I.S.S. Elite Society’s mental health chat in February.
Tierra McCall and Jakiya Dudley
Many organizations on Troy University’s campuses have had to completely alter their procedures and activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, But now – a year after the coronavirus pandemic began – organizations have found creative measures are allowing them to still thrive.
The International Student Cultural Organization (ISCO) has been especially affected as their main mission is to bring international and domestic students together to learn and enjoy new cultures. Social distancing rules made this goal extremely difficult for the organization to meet.
“We were unable to host any country nights or any events in the past year,” Biwaksha Shrestha, a junior from Kathmandu, Nepal, said. “We had to cancel our biggest event, the ISCO festival, which is usually the main attraction on campus before the fall break.
“We saw a fall in number of members and no new members due to travel restrictions.”
To interact with others while adhering to COVID-19 guidelines, ISCO has been holding virtual events, such as online cooking shows and conducting small group events.
“We provide packed international food instead of cooked food to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and to keep everyone safe,” Shrestha said. “I think online events was one way to keep the organization going.
“Also, we highlight one country every week and talk about their cultures and food in our Facebook and Instagram groups which serve the same purpose as our presentation would. We also had some trivia nights which were very successful and interesting that kept people safe while learning more about other cultures.”
Trojan Outreach, another organization on Troy’s campus whose mission is to encourage and empower students to make healthy life decisions, has been affected by COVID-19, as well.
“We are a group that thrives from in-person connections and building bonds with students through events and campaigns we hold on campus,” Morgan Williams, a graduate student from Mobile, Alabama, said. “When COVID hit, we had to adapt by utilizing our social media more than we did pre-COVID.
“The pandemic has put us on hold as far as several in-person events and it has hindered our ability to help students gain knowledge and access to resources for health and wellness.”
Trojan Outreach has also had to revert to a new way of doing things to continue to spread awareness and healthy life tips for students.
“We have been taking advantage of our social media,” Williams said. “We use our Instagram, @Trojan_Outreach, to keep students informed on what we’re doing and how to get Involved on campus.
“We post on the student Facebook page to share our current events and online campaigns. In case students miss our events, we post a recap video at the end of every month to let students know what happened in that month and what to expect the next month.”
Williams went on to express the organization’s appreciation of students staying active throughout the difficult times.
“We appreciate everyone who has stopped by our events, interacted with us and got involved regardless of the pandemic and we hope to get back to normal very soon!” Williams said. “Go Trojans!”
The pandemic also heavily affected the M.I.S.S. Elite Society, an organization whose mission is to empower the Troy University campus’ cultural and civic platforms that engage, educate and empower young people. Instead of meeting twice a month in person, the group has been meeting once in person and once virtually. The in-person meeting area is cleaned and sanitized before and after each meeting.
“We are a very hands-on community service organization, so the pandemic really affected how we were able to get involved in the community and work with others, but we found ways to get creative and kept going forward with using social distancing, sanitization and following what the CDC says to prevent the spread,” said Destiny Davenport, a senior from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Vice President of the group.
“We make it our duty to constantly remind those that masks/face coverings are required to remain on their faces in the proper fashion and continue social distancing throughout the entire duration of our hosted activities and events.
Also, the amount of community service the group usually participates in has been limited and more virtual community service, such as activism and awareness chats, are being held.
To help support students during the pandemic, The M.I.S.S. Elite Society held a Mental Health Chat in February.
“The executive board realized how important it is to make sure to take care of ourselves mentally and physically, especially during the pandemic,” said Gretil Sutton, a senior elementary education major from Valley, Alabama, who serves as president of the M.I.S.S. Elite Society. “This is a stressful time for college students, and we wanted to make sure that our campus community is doing well mentally.”
The speaker for the event discussed the importance of mental health and ways to take care of yourself mentally. She also gave students the opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback.
“I think what was so powerful about this event was the transparency that we were able to experience,” Sutton said. “Events like these will give students the opportunity to speak freely about how they feel without fear of being judged.”
For more information on the M.I.S.S. Elite Society and upcoming events, follow them on Instagram @misselitesoociety.