Traditional Events Missed by New Students

Emmanuel Son, Staff Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a restraint on a number of traditional events usually held by Saint Martin’s University. This has caused all freshmen and new students in the 2020-2021 school year to miss out on potential activities. To begin, Director of Campus Life Alexis Nelson stated that the events that had led up to Orientation had been done very differently this school year. AHANA, Orientation, and Incipio had been limited to 50 people per room with each leader only having about 10-15 students. Virtual sessions had also been offered for those who were not able to make it to campus in person, given that a number of students had done remote learning all school year. “It was an art and was very tricky. We had to break it up a lot more,” Nelson said. “We had to have masking, social distancing, and all food had to be boxed and not buffet style. We could not do close contact games or activities. But all that to say, we did it.”  

Nelson said the traditional events that had to be cut this year include Family Weekend, Casino Nights, Winter Ball, and Pack the Pavilion. Family Weekend mainly consisted of current Saint Martin’s students inviting over family members on campus for a weekend to learn about the students’ educational lives and to get to know the Saints community better. Casino Night events typically include a number of table casino games where students can play for raffle tickets to win prizes. Winter Ball is a traditional dance that celebrates the end of the semester, as well as Christmas and the New Year. Pack the Pavilion is the annual tradition of supporting the Saints basketball team. 

Despite the number of large events that had to be canceled this year, the school was still able to host a number of smaller events to help keep students active on campus when not doing schoolwork. Nelson says that some of the most popular events with the most attendees included both virtual and in-person bingos which in total reached over 100 attendees, outdoor movie nights in the fall, and a de-stress event both in the fall and winter. 

While most major traditional events have been canceled, there are a number of events that are still planned to be in-person to close off this unusual school year. Some events that are planned to be in person include the Student Appreciation Awards, Senior Toast, and the Salute to Veterans celebration. “Everything that’s happening around Commencement will happen in-person, ” Nelson said. “There are also still a number of Campus Life and club events that are still anticipated to happen in person. Some of these events include a Murder Mystery Night, the Hui O’ Hawai’i Luau, and an all-day Spring Fest which will include a 5k race limited to 25 people per session in the morning for a total of 125 campus-only community members. Following the race will be performances that will take place throughout the evening. Senior Toast will precede the events that happen throughout the day. 

While the future of COVID-19 restrictions in Thurston County is unpredictable, Campus Life already has an idea of some events they plan to host next school year. Orientation for freshmen and other new students this summer will follow the same protocols as last year with masks and social distancing in place. Saint Martin’s plans to have different orientation sessions depending on what year a student is entering. Sessions for incoming freshmen will be a day long, with another session being for transfer students. Incipio will also be in person. For next school year, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) plans to work on bringing a number of Saint Martin’s traditions in person such as Winter Ball at the Indian Summer Golf and Country Club, Family Weekend, and Pack the Pavilion.                                                                                                                                                                           

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