The Melismatics, a Lehigh acapella group, performed in Lamberton Hall. Many clubs and other extracurricular organizations are figuring out how to adapt this fall as uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 remains. (Margaret Burnett/B&W Staff)

Clubs and organizations resume in-person programming


This semester, clubs and organizations are returning to campus after over a year of remote and hybrid programming. With uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 cases and guidelines, organizations are at different stages in their return to in-person meetings and events. 

The COVID-19 Response Team has said individuals are required to wear masks indoors in public spaces, and indoor gatherings are limited to no more than 25 people when faculty supervision is not present. Masks are not required outdoors but are encouraged in situations where social distancing between individuals is not possible. 

Clubs and organizations on campus that are able to comply with these guidelines can continue programming on varying levels. 

Emma Burke, ‘22, president of Outing Club, said members are excited to host trips off campus following a year of virtual programming. 

Burke said the club is encouraging members to wear masks and practice social distancing, but because most events are held outdoors, the Outing Club is able to operate normally this semester. 

“If anything, people are getting more involved because we are spending a lot of time outdoors, and this is a group of people who do not mind being outdoors,” Burke said. “A lot of us even prefer it.” 

Lexi Perez, ‘23, a longtime member of the cheerleading team, said her team has worked hard to get back on the field for the football season, although they have faced difficulties.

Perez said because cheerleading is such a group oriented activity, it has been a challenge to recreate formations and stunt groups when some of her teammates have had to miss practice due to illness or awaiting a COVID-19 test result. 

Perez said when the team practices inside, they must wear masks, which can make it difficult to project their voices. 

“Since we are dealing with a mostly new team, it has been difficult to rebuild the trust and relationships, and we’re still working on it,” Perez said.

Perez said team advisors have been helpful in making sure the cheerleaders have everything they need. She said, however, that the team may need more guidance when they can no longer practice and perform outside.

Jacob Thompson, ’23, music director of the Lehigh Melismatics, said the group has been transitioning back to in-person performances after pivoting to virtual platforms like Apple Music and Spotify last year. 

Thompson said the group is holding rehearsals as normal, with masks, but offering a Zoom option for members who cannot attend.

“With singing, it’s so important to be in person so we can get the dynamics right,” Thompson said.

Thompson said the group has access to a Google Drive with the music and audio files of each vocal part, should a member need to practice on their own. 

Thompson said although he thinks the administration wants students to be in person when possible, the Melismatics encountered some trouble trying to secure a room in Zollener, despite having practiced there for the past 20 years. 

The three organization leaders said they are continuing to work closely with Lehigh faculty in order to ensure their needs are met, but are also glad they are able to make some decisions about how their programming is run. 

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