by Da Hee Yang | October 5, 2020
On September 11, 2020, Saint Francis launched its first-ever virtual Activity Fair. In the past, the Activity Fair was held annually on campus, with different club booths for students to browse and sign up for activities. However, due to remote learning this year, Saint Francis made the unprecedented decision to hold the exciting event virtually through a Google Slides presentation that included a list of clubs available for students. On the slides, students could view introduction videos, fliers, and sign-up sheets for a variety of clubs, from the newly-launched affinity groups to service groups with online volunteering experiences.
Although Lancers were unfamiliar with the new format of Activity Fair, it received lots of positive feedback from students and teachers alike. After using the new platform to sign up for clubs, Rachel Minden (’23) stated, “I liked how the presentation slides were well-formatted.” Kennedy Emerson (’24) echoed, “It was easy to see different kinds of clubs, and there was enough time to sign up.” Numerous students enjoyed the fact that the Fair was well-organized, and that they were given plenty of time to explore various options that were presented.
Mr. Meulman, the Director of the Activities Office, shared his experience organizing the event. He explained a difficulty he faced with the usage of a new online program, jokingly stating, “It usually takes about 20 minutes to put up tables and signs and another 20 minutes to take them down each year. I spent about 60 hours putting together the formatting.” He added that despite this challenge, the Activity Fair was successful with the help of different club moderators and student leaders. Recognizing how much the virtual Activity Fair helped students, Mr. Meulman is considering hosting the Fair both in-person and virtually in the future when school returns in-person. He stated, “I do think we will continue with the in-person Fair because it has always been a very exciting event, but I would also like to continue with a virtual platform so students can have the best of both experiences.”
Along with the adjustments they made for the Activity Fair, clubs are making modifications to their activities to increase student involvement during the time of virtual learning. For example, Ignite, Saint Francis’ Catholic youth group, previously hosted prayer nights and student retreats when school was in-person. Following the community health guidelines, the club is now arranging to continue its activities both in-person and virtually. Mr. Brown, the moderator for Ignite, stated, “Ignite qualifies as exempt when meeting for religious gatherings. Therefore, we are excited to be meeting on campus for specific events. However, we are also aware of the safety, concern, and comfort for all of our students and will be offering a bi-monthly Virtual Ignite Session for those who wish to remain at home.” He also mentioned that Ignite is planning to provide interactive meetings through activities such as “cyber showdowns” where students play games and become comfortable with one another, with the goal of creating an open environment for prayer experiences. Similar to Ignite’s plan, other clubs are also planning to focus on building a community and engaging with different resources.
Through the virtual Activity Fair, many students have signed up to participate in clubs they are interested in for this school year. However, the school encourages those who are still unsure about their involvement in clubs and have not yet signed up to try several activities and narrow their options down using the spare time students have during quarantine. Mr. Meulman advises the Lancers: “I believe students have time to try new things as they have a bit more time on their hands. I recommend students to sample three or four clubs but focus on one or two so that they can devote the appropriate focus to the club’s activities.” Saint Francis aims to help students connect with one another and the school through its array of clubs and activities, so be sure to sign up because they are only a click away!