By Daniel Pineda
Campus activities at Amarillo College have changed significantly because of COVID-19. In the midst of a pandemic, Student Life events involving crowds larger than 10 are not permitted on campus. “We’re trying to reach out and find new virtual programs, like ones we haven’t seen before, things that just get the students more involved and feel like they still get something out of Student Life,” Miranda McHugh, the Student Life assistant, said. What used to be on-campus events has now switched over to a virtual approach.
Such activities include the “Playlist Bingo,” where instead of using numbers, songs are played and students have to mark off the artists who sing the song. Another activity includes the “Show Biz Quiz Game Show” trivia competition, where students are asked questions about movies, music and television.
According to Alexia Banda, a criminal justice major, bingo and trivia are among the activities that she is usually interested in. “I love the way you get to interact and see others’ responses on what they know, and getting to know more about them. I love seeing and communicating with other people and of course winning free prizes,” she said.
In addition to the games and contests being offered this semester, there are educational activities. “We have partnered with career and employment services, they have a whole lot of series of webinars set up, career readiness, some Adulting 101, where you learn about taxes, you learn about loans, learn about retirement, that kind of stuff,” McHugh said.
Another type of activity planned for this semester is the come-and-go events, which are open for a week. Many of these events have been done in the past such as a Pumpkin Patch event, a Christmas Wonderland and a recent Martin Luther King exhibit. Nazario Maestas, a Recording Arts major and member of the Student Government Association, said, “We had pictures posted on posters and stuff like that. You can also come in and write your own idea of your own dream for the community, or whatever your dream is. You can actually post it on there.”
While the pandemic has been challenging, officials said it has also allowed for Student Life to gain a new audience of students. McHugh said that, “I know that we are excited about, we’ve reached new students, you know some students that never would have participated in Student Life in normal circumstances. They’re able to participate because of the virtual option, because of the way it’s set up.” McHugh also said that after the pandemic, Student Life may leave one or two virtual programs a semester.