St. Lawrence is well known for its dynamic student life. However, COVID-19 has greatly affected this important aspect in students’ lives. From social distancing to the fact that students no longer go to the CEGEP for their classes, the pandemic has brought many challenges to the different clubs of the school.
I decided to take the pulse of these clubs to find out how they are dealing with the current situation. What I discovered is that even if the pandemic has brought many obstacles, students at St. Lawrence are resilient, and a global pandemic will not stop them from accomplishing great things for their school.
SLCSA – Interviewee: Émile Pinel
The school association has been working very hard since the beginning of the pandemic. For the SLCSA, it is not a global pandemic that will stop them from accomplishing great things for the students of the college. However, the president of the club, Émile Pinel, mentions that the pandemic forces them to change the nature of their activities. The SLCSA is well known for its events that greatly enhance student life, but this is something they had to put aside for the time being.
On the other hand, the current situation has given a lot of time for the club to review its structure and work on certain management aspects. “We had more time to review our by-laws, which is something that had not been changed in a while, so it is a good thing,” affirms Émile Pinel. The president also shares one of their main mandates, which is to revamp all the club’s rooms, a project of $25,000 that will be greatly appreciated by the students once they return. This wonderful project, as well as the advent countdown for the Christmas Hamper (which was a huge success), and the town hall meetings, demonstrate that the SLCSA is there for the students. “Covid is not going to stop us,” concludes the president. This club is definitely a great example of resilience from our Lions.
If you have any ideas or concerns that you would like to share with the SLCSA, do not hesitate to contact any of the club’s members.
St. Lawrence Entrepreneurship club (SLEC) – Interviewee: Corinne Dumas
For a club in which the majority of activities are about networking, events, and connecting with other clubs, COVID-19 is a big pill to swallow. However, the pandemic has pushed the SLEC to reinvent themselves in an online fashion, which is not a bad thing at all. “The book market will have an online platform which will be very useful for the years to come.” shares Corinne Dumas, president of the club. Transforming the book market into an online platform is not a project that the SLEC would have thought of if it weren’t for the pandemic, so thanks to that, adds Corinne.
The club is also working on the rebranding of the club itself. The logo has been changed and more marketing material for the club is to come. Nevertheless, if there is one thing the members of the club are really missing, it is human interactions. “We love to be together in the SLEC room and chill all together and gather. This is where all the projects would come alive,” adds the president. For the moment, the club has to content themselves with Zoom meetings, but better times are to come and their hard work will surely pay off in future years.
Art and Crafts Club – Interviewee: Anh-Kim Le Alvarado
The art and crafts club is a fairly new club for the school and was created by business student Anh-Kim Le Alvarado. One of the main difficulties COVID-19 has brought to the club is recruitment. “We are a new club, so it is already hard, so the pandemic did not help,” mentions Anh-Kim. She mentions her original strategy to attract new members was to organize art and crafts activities in the atrium and then invite students to come and try them out. However, when the pandemic hit, she had to find another way. Fortunately, the second wave of recruitment was more profitable, and the club is now composed of 14 implicated members.
The club is currently working on many interesting projects such as a magazine about Human Rights, where the students are free to create something related to the theme. One of the aspects that could explain the success of this club is the liberty the students have in their art. All of these beautiful projects have one thing in common: the members’ desire to make art more accessible and known to the whole school. Isn’t that inspiring?
LGBTQ+ – Interviewee: Florence Bergeron
For the LGBTQ+ club, the announcement of the shutdown in March hit pretty hard. A movie screening and conference was planned for the end of the month, but everything had to be cancelled. “It was complicated for us to find alternatives and solutions, and when we found something to replace the activities, it was too late because it was the exam session,” mentions Florence Bergeron, an implicated member of the club. Like many other clubs, the LGBTQ+ also had to change the nature of their activities, but this ended up being for the best. “We are now discussing mental health because it is not everyone that has the right support at home.” Florence adds that it can be hard for some students to feel and be accepted in high school, so the club is glad to be there to offer necessary support when these students reach Cegep.
Other inspiring projects from the club such as a Facebook live with a member from the trans community are to come, so make sure to follow the club on its social media. As a final thought, Florence mentions that there is still some hard work to be done for the club to be accepted and recognized. Being more open to our differences is something that can be improved by everyone.
Health and Wellness – Interviewees: Isabelle Zhang, Éléonore Gosse-Franceschini, and Yijia Xin
The health and wellness club has been more necessary than ever since the beginning of the pandemic. As the three students interviewed mention, “the quarantine has affected a lot of students in a negative way.” The club is now working more in collaboration with the social worker. Together, they can create great activities for the students: art therapy sessions, online training, hiking groups, and more. The club had also discussed the possibility of creating a snowshoeing group, but the curfew and the limit of people allowed for outdoor gatherings forced them to change their original plan.
Another difficulty they faced was the purchasing of all the materials for the art therapy group. As this type of equipment is not considered essential by stores, the club had no choice but to buy online. Like many other clubs, the health and wellness club adapted its activities and remained resilient in order to act as a support for students. “Now we take more initiative, we are more aware of the things that we can do to help our community,” mention the three students. Note that the club is currently working on a wonderful project to raise awareness about mental health and issues related to the pandemic. Topics such as body positivity, eating disorders will be touched, so make sure to follow their Instagram account to learn more about it!
Multimedia – Interviewees: Yijia Xin, Isabelle Blair-Lewis
The multimedia club, which mainly focuses on photography and video editing made its debut last semester. Since their club started in the online context and they have nothing to compare to, dealing with the pandemic has been a little bit easier for them. However, even if the club has never worked during a “non-covid” world, they still wish to do in-person activities such as taking pictures outside together, doing photoshoots as well as collaborating with the art club. Moreover, “a lot of learning with multimedia equipment requires us to be present with each other, so to do it online makes it harder,” affirm Isabelle and Yijia, two active members of the club. The club also had a project of “street photography,” which did not have the chance to see the light because of the curfew and the limited number of members allowed to meet outside together.
For the moment, their activities are more about individual projects that the student can work on in the long term, such as picture editing as well as weekly challenges. The multimedia club is also planning a collaboration with the theatre club that is writing their own play. “ They would like to live stream it so we would do this part.” affirm Yijia. The club would also work on the editing of the film, which could be a great opportunity for its members to work on this specific multimedia skill. Finally, the club would love to collaborate with other clubs whether it is for picture editing or promotional videos. A chance not to miss!
Part 2 coming soon, stay tuned for more inspiring clubs!