As Lehigh continues a socially distanced, primarily online semester, student clubs and organizations have been forced to conduct their operations remotely to meet COVID-19 guidelines.
Lehigh’s Hawkathon student group typically spends its fall semester fundraising and preparing for their 12-hour event in November to raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Although the event will not be able to take place this fall, the group has continued to raise money virtually.
Sarah Smith, ’22, Hawkathon’s executive director, said it has been difficult for the group to reach their typical fundraising levels without in-person events. Monthly events would typically generate the majority of funds as the group was able to charge for admission as well as sell T-shirts and food.
Smith said the group this year has been focused on utilizing social media and other online platforms to fundraise virtually. Additionally, the club partnered with Lehigh After Dark to host a trivia night, challenged students to join DonorDrive, an online fundraising platform, and developed their own website.
Smith said the executive members of the club have been able to meet and discuss objectives over Zoom each week and still plan to have a reveal of fundraising totals.
“Instead of our normal event at the very end of November, we are doing a fundraising final reveal,” Smith said. “Everyone that’s registered on DonorDrive will receive a video announcing how much we have raised over the semester.”
Smith said they are hoping to involve some top fundraisers and Lehigh dance groups in the reveal as they are a typically an important part of the annual event.
The Lehigh Aerospace Club usually focuses its fall semester on designing, building and testing an aircraft to take to competition. The club is still planning on developing an aircraft, but will have to start the process virtually.
Michael DeMasi, ’22, the club’s president, said although things are different, the start of the semester has still gone well for them. He said they have mainly focused on recruiting new members through the club fair and engineering club expo.
DeMasi said the group has been meeting each Sunday over Zoom to share ideas and design plans. Additionally, DeMasi said the club has been focused on getting to know new members through virtual game nights and other activities.
He said the club has been able to teach members Solidworks, a computer-aided modeling software, through LU apps.
In terms of the actual construction of their aircraft, DeMasi said the club is awaiting information from the engineering department on when they can access Mohler Lab to begin building. In the meantime, DeMasi said the team will continue to design virtually.
“We are taking advantage of the time now to just go over all of our designs, all of our ideas,” DeMasi said, “so then once we get into the lab, we can start building everything.”
Lehigh’s marketing club has also adapted to online meetings and events. Vice President Kelsey Smith, ’21, said the group’s executive board has been meeting over Zoom, and the club will have a kick-off meeting with new members virtually in two weeks.
Smith said the group has already hosted a virtual event primarily focused on online job recruiting amid a pandemic. Additionally, the club will host a remote event in October that will provide members with an opportunity to earn a Google Analytics certification.
Smith said the club is planning on continuing to center events on information and skills that will be beneficial during the pandemic and the current virtual landscape.
“We are trying to adapt in that way and include more events that are targeted toward what’s happening now compared to what we used to have,” Smith said.