Image description: Three images are shown in a grid, with a coral-coloured text box in the centre. In the top left image, a young man – wearing sunglasses and a blue shirt – holds his arms up to the sky as confetti rains on him. In the top right image, a young man and a young woman have their backs to the camera, and are in a side-hug. Their shirts promote the UWA Guild and SOC. The bottom image features students milling around a market at UWA. The text in the coral-coloured box reads ‘Clubs Just Wanna Have Fun…’.
By Courtney Withers
Campus life as we know it might be a little strange at the moment, but this hasn’t fazed many clubs at UWA.
Although there have been significant changes to contact on campus, resources available, and the ability to plan events, in true UWA campus spirit, many clubs have taken this in their stride, and found creative solutions for their fellow members.
Firstly, let’s start with the obvious – Pelican, and the changes we have made to adapt to the current situation.
As most of you know, Pelican releases six print editions a year, as well as online content. With the recent restrictions placed on face-to-face classes, our latest print edition, ‘ELECTRIC’, was launched fully online for the first time ever, on April 10.
This creative solution worked really well, with this edition being particularly strong. We even had a launch party on the unofficial, respawned Club Penguin Rewritten, which was one of the weirdest things I’ve done in a while — but, just as effective as the regular launch night at the Tav (and the drinks were cheaper!).
It truly is extraordinary times when you’re playing your fellow Head Editors in the ski race, whilst talking on a separate Discord chat about articles written in the latest edition.
Other clubs have also rolled with the punches and have found creative solutions to their predicaments.
The University Dramatic Society (UDS) would normally be just about to open their first semester show this week – a skit comedy show in the Tav – and their first semester musical in the Dolphin Theatre a few weeks after that.
The club has combated the ‘quarantine blues’ by starting their very own ‘Writers’ of UDS Radio Play’ group, and a forming a new group for UDS members called ‘Corona Creatives’, which is providing opportunities for song writing, acting, dancing and Zoom workshops with alumni – all through online technologies. E-mail the folks here for more information!
Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) Union and Health Student Society (HSS) are thinking of creative solutions for their members, and hosted an online Kahoot Quiz Night on April 17, with prizes offered to the top three winners.
The infamous PROSH event that was planned for March 18 – cancelled due to limitations on gatherings – was kept alive by the team by publishing the magazine digitally on their website. This ensured some well-needed laughs, and recognised the hard work of the writers.
The Harry Potter Society also hosted a Netflix Party for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them for UWA students – this sparked a bit of magic back into everyone’s ‘new normal’.
The fabulous Fashion and Beauty Society (FABSOC) UWA is spreading their quarantine cheer by posting daily styling tips on their TikTok, so their members can stay fashionable at home. They are also hosting ‘Self-Care Saturdays’, involving all things health, skincare and beauty.
UWA Arts Union has also jumped on board with TikTok, and have been posting healthy recipes and wellness-based videos from the platform on their Facebook page
On April 15, ALVA Student Society & HSS hosted a very exciting, and appropriately named, ‘ZOOMba’ session. Once again, an example of a club getting creative and innovative during quarantine to keep up morale and club interest.
The UWA Pride Department also got physical, and hosted a yoga session over Zoom on April 15, to share the Pride spirit!
The UWA Music Students’ Society hosted their first ever Netflix watch party on April 10, watching the crowd favourite, Shrek — an excellent choice, if I do say so myself.
The UWA Woolnough Society is currently holding a photo competition, due by the end of April, that involves the photography of rocks, minerals or fossil samples, and outcrop and landscape photos. You can enter here!
PhilSoc hosted a Zoom discussion on April 10, to discuss all things conspiracy theories (Shane Dawson videos included). This event was also open to people who weren’t studying philosophy or involved with the club.
And finally, a cross-club event of ‘Communal Yoga’ has been introduced, with the involvement of ECOMS UWA, UWA Tennis Club, The Blackstone Society, University Engineers Club, HSS, ALVA Student Society, BPhil Society and Physical Education Student Society (PESA), with their second yoga event held on April 19, via Zoom.
The Guild SOC group is also doing everything they can to ensure that clubs are kept alive at UWA during this quarantine period, and have created a separate Facebook page, ‘Clubs in Quarantine’, to ensure this.
This page has been used for clubs to promote their activity during the quarantine period, and build momentum for when the restrictions are lifted.
I spoke to Guild SOC President Jacob Roosendaal about the initiative, and how impressed he was with the dedication of clubs at UWA.
“Everyone is feeling the impact of COVID-19 and the new normal of ‘living apart’,” Jacob said.
“Clubs have been hit especially hard by the uncertainty of the pandemic, with many eagerly-anticipated events cancelled or in limbo.
“With the help of my incredible committee, I’m touching base with clubs as much as I can over the next few weeks to ensure that we are in the best position to start with a bang when this is over. I also want to acknowledge the incredible patience and understanding that clubs have shown us during this time.”
Jacob then went on to talk about why the Facebook page was introduced and what the SOC team hope it will achieve.
“Despite the difficulties brought about by COVID-19, clubs have really stepped up to the challenge,” Jacob said.
“We’ve seen so many amazing clubs that are being extremely innovative and forward-thinking in hosting a variety of different events online.
“The ‘Clubs in Quarantine’ Facebook page was created by the SOC Committee as a way to maintain UWA’s strong sense of community and to prevent students from feeling isolated during these difficult times. We’ve seen really strong engagement from every corner on campus and have received a lot of positive feedback about the page.”
Finally, he concluded with how important it is in staying connected in this time, and keeping campus club culture alive.
“Our clubs and societies are one of UWA’s defining features, and our clubs are the lifeblood of campus culture. Although difficult, this pandemic has demonstrated the immense strength of our 158 Clubs, the talented committee’s that run them, and the profound impact they have on student life. In terms of student life at UWA, the main lesson from this pandemic is that, without culture, there is no Campus,” Jacob said.
Upon researching and looking at all of these club’s events and activities, in preparation for writing this article, I was blown away with how proactive and creative students have been in keeping things moving.
The dedication of all of these clubs is something that the UWA community should be extremely proud of, and is very much testament to the individuals that are involved in making it happen.
The Guild stated in a post that they are “currently working to secure additional funding for Clubs to reduce the financial impact of the pandemic on campus culture”, and that they will keep everyone “updated on this as it develops”.
Whether it’s a Zoom yoga class, a writers’ group, a Watch Party, or digital launch party on Club Penguin Rewritten; there is certainly no lack of creativity in keeping clubs alive at UWA during this quarantine period.
Image courtesy of UWA Student Guild
Courtney may or may not have had a Club Penguin tab open as she wrote this article.