Student engagement remains integral to the student learning experience at Pacific University. Meanwhile the risks posed by SARS-CoV-2 to students completing their education, receiving in-person instruction, and remaining housed on campus require that student clubs, student organizations, and student activities temporarily adapt. We are keeping changes and adaptations relevant to student leaders on this page.
Resources for Student Leaders
- Guidance for Student Club and Organization Operations during COVID-19 Pandemic
Reviewed by University COVID Task Force on 8/3/2020
Last update on 9/7/2020
The most important things student leaders may learn during this temporary adaptation are:
- Leading means accepting we exist in a community larger than we see. Despite your best desires and efforts, your groups’ plans may have to alter, postpone, or cancel unexpectedly due to changing conditions with the pandemic in order to ensure the safety of yourselves and others, and to reduce risk to in-person academic activities. For example, on July 10, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) advised everyone, regardless of local re-opening phase, to limit indoor gatherings to 10 people for three weeks based on evidence of alarming spread from gatherings (OPB Staff). If you had an indoor event planned for 25 during that time, a quick change may have been required. We will do our best to keep this guidance current as federal, state, and local requirements change. Federal, state, or local requirements that are stricter will always supersede this document when changes occur
- Leading means paying as much attention to process as outcomes. We too often focus on outcomes, for example, how many people attended or how many likes a photo received. The pandemic presents an opportunity to refocus student leadership on process. In other words, how was the journey, even if you never got to your destination and things went awry? Did everyone on the journey learn something, deepen their friendships, have so much fun they didn’t even care it was not as expected? Or did the journey go so bad people are mad at one another? Student groups that focus on process will both endure and build capacity for success in 2021-22.
- Now presents an opportunity to get creative. See our Alternative Student Group Event Ideas.
Nearly all funding for student clubs and organizations, certain centers and student activities, come from student activity fees that are rolled into students' tuition bills. The University is not charging students an activity fee to reduce student bills this fall. So, funding for student organizations, clubs, and activities, is limited to the reserve funds of the Undergraduate Student Senate from closing balances from previous years. Currently, that reserve is about 40% of what the Undergraduate Student Senate normally starts the fall with. Updates to club and organization budgets will be shared with student leaders at the usual fall student leader training.
Club and organization treasurers and advisers are encouraged to process paperwork through campus mail to limit in-person contacts. If you drop forms in Campus Mail to UC Box A101 or A106 and everything is complete except the budget officer signature, Student Activities will approve and forward directly to the business office for you. For reimbursement paperwork, if it is received in Student Activities by Wednesday of a given week, and all is in proper order, we will see that it is turned into the Business Office by Friday for inclusion in the following Thursday’s check-run. Please observe the Friday deadline is a COVID-related change the business office had to make, which is one day earlier than the previous Monday to Thursday cycle. Many student organizations have come to rely upon Petty Cash slips for much business and this may be less favorable if a sudden change in University operations necessitates limited hours at the Business Office. For the time being, the Business Office plans to continue to support Petty Cash requests Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
- Student club and organization funds for food for in-person, on-campus activities may only be used for Bon Appétit or commercially-prepared, individually-packaged food; other expenditures for in-person, on-campus food will be denied. See our Alternative Student Group Event Ideas for alternatives to events with outside catering.
- Student club and organization funds should not be spent on PPE. Proper equipment is available from the University for University-related functions. Contact student activities before making any unnecessary purchases against your limited student club and organization budgets.
- As always, contact Student Activities advisers for assistance in proper access of club and organizational funds.
Student leaders must prioritize holding meetings for general business online. This increases inclusion for students who are unable to attend in-person meetings because they have higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, e.g., immunocompromised or other underlying medical conditions, they engage in most activities remotely for personal safety reasons, or they are practicing self-isolation or under quarantine due to SARS-CoV-2 exposure. This also conserves space and cleaning resources for academic instructional activities and limited hybrid or in-person activities (see below).
- All students have access to host meetings on Google Hangouts through their Boxer Apps. Effective August 24, students also have licensed Zoom accounts like faculty and staff. Students configure their zoom account at pacificu.zoom.us by signing in with their PUNet ID. If students previously set-up a free Zoom account directly through zoom with their @pacificu.edu email and want to consolidate the accounts, they may contact the Technology Helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Student leaders may learn to facilitate fun and engaging online meetings by following our Practices for Engaging Online Meetings.
Hybrid activities occur simultaneously online and in-person. Hybrid activities increase inclusion for students who cannot attend, perhaps due to in-person attendance capacity. Hybrid activities are resilient to in-person cancellations because a plan was already in-place to offer an online component. ACE Board is willing to consult with student clubs in the development of hybrid activities. Student activities, in partnership with other University offices, is in the process of developing a space for hybrid activities.
Student Leaders wishing to plan any kind of in-person activity should first familiarize themselves with the Guidance for In-person Get-togethers, Gatherings, and Events during COVID-19 Pandemic prepared by Student Activities and Conference and Event Support Services (CESS).
Student organizations should avoid facilitating travel in students’ private vehicles. When traveling in other students’ private vehicles, following the University’s motor pool requirements is highly advised, i.e. face coverings, no eating or drinking in vehicle, increased ventilation or windows, sit in the same seats there-and-back.
Many national student organizations have already canceled all fall in-person conferences and are planning virtual-only activities. Some have already pivoted spring conventions to online-only events, e.g., National Association of Campus Activities announced such a change August 14 for a February convention. Student clubs and organizations shall not facilitate or expend their budgets for travel to conferences, conventions, overnight destinations, or in-person business meetings with other organizations for fall 2020. This restriction shall be reviewed for potential revision, lifting, or exceptions in advance of spring semester 2021.
Student organizations may use motor pool vehicles to arrange local day trips for outdoor recreation or site-seeing as facilities are open. Student organizers should familiarize themselves with new motor pool rules. Student organizers should verify conditions with the intended destination and prepare participants to stay socially distant upon arrival at the destination. All venues and operations are prohibited from accommodating parties larger than 10. For example, if 16 students from your club get tickets to the Oregon Zoo, you will have to stay in two entirely separate parties of eight. Both the Oregon Zoo and Motor Pool guidelines prohibit you mixing the members of the parties.
Student organizations may use motor pool vehicles to arrange local day trips for shopping or dining. Student organizers should familiarize themselves with new motor pool rules. Student organizers should verify conditions with the intended destination and prepare participants to stay socially distant upon arrival at the destination. Stores will expect all participants to be socially distant and operate as separate parties: not a group of 8. Restaurants and other event venues are prohibited from accommodating parties larger than 10, unless the operation closes to normal restaurant service and provides separate spaces, as if for a private event.
The usual process outlined below is temporarily suspended. Student Leader access to EMS for room scheduling is temporarily suspended while we adjust privileges in the system to work with state health guidance we must follow during the pandemic. The process will be re-started early in the semester, shortly in advance of our usual student leader training.
Student organizations in good standing enjoy the privilege to reserve campus spaces for meetings and events. Events and meeting spaces are requested and approved online through the university's EMS Room Scheduling site. the University's Event Management System. Student organizations must register one member to access EMS on the organization's behalf using the EMS Organization Registration Form (pdf).
Planning a successful event often requires plenty of advance time, specialized knowledge in areas like risk management or audio-visual equipment, and adequate resources. Training and support is offered by Student Activities and Conference and Event Support Services staffs. Student organizations that are thinking of planning a large event are encouraged to work with ACE Board far in advance. ACE Board is involved in most large student events on campus and manages sound, lighting, and other services to produce such events.
Frequently Asked Questions
We need a student employee in our department to regularly assist with making reservations. How can they get access?
A staff or faculty member may delegate their EMS access to a student in order to assist in the performance of the staff or faculty members' regular duties. We provide details in EMS Delegation Instructions (pdf).
I'm not in a student club or organization, but want to host an event on campus. I have to complete a civic engagement project for a class.
As the name implies, one objective of the Civic Engagement Cornerstone is to engage the campus or broader community. Another objective is to have proper orientation and preparation for the project. Just reserving space on campus to hold an event on your own is likely to fail to meet both goals. Working with an established student organization to further an existing project of theirs or to develop a project offers several advantages. An established student organization likely has financial resources, experienced event planners, members dedicated to a common cause, a faculty adviser, and the privilege to host their own events on campus. By engaging with them you may have a more successful event and may discover that you wish to continue working in the group even after your core requirement is complete. You may find contact information for relevant student organizations in the Student Organization Directory. Student Activities staff are often aware of various student organizations' current plans and are happy to consult with you to connect you with a student organization relevant to your interests. It is also possible that the Center for Civic Engagement or another office or department on campus may choose to sponsor your event. You may also consider engaging in a project with an off-campus community organization, which may not require you to plan an event at all, on or off campus.
I need space to conduct an academic research project, class assignment, or similar activity.
Your course instructor has the authority to request appropriate campus spaces for additional times for approved course activities and requirements. According to the faculty handbook, your course instructor is responsible for maintaining academic standards over their course content and your learning. Conference & Event Support Services and Student Activities are not staffed to verify that every student-initiated request to use a University facility meets with a particular instructor's approval for the intended academic, creative, or scholarly objective.