“Everything is in motion”: Northwestern student organizations adapt amid COVID-19 restrictions


Courtesy of Diego Ramos

Diego Ramos watches a rehearsal for one of StuCo’s first productions of the year, “The Trojan Women.” The show is set to premiere Oct. 9 via Zoom.

Nick Francis, Reporter

As Fall Quarter begins remotely, clubs must find long-lasting and sweeping alternatives to their traditional in-person activities.

This is a particular challenge for performance groups. But as first-year students audition and rehearse remotely, some like Communication freshman Kalan Hauser remain hopeful that the essential parts of the experience will stay the same.

“The sense of community online can be just as strong as it could be in person,” Hauser, a new member of Fusion Dance Company, said. “No matter what platform (meetings are held), a club can be strong either way.”

While virtual productions are still on the calendar for many groups this fall, Communication freshman Diego Ramos is opting for a behind-the-scenes path within the Student Theatre Coalition instead. He said he’s been attending rehearsals of Lovers & Madmen’s “The Trojan Women” to get a sense of what a StuCo show looks like.

Rather than audition for a role in an upcoming show, Ramos is applying to a new mentorship program, where he hopes to assistant produce an upcoming spring production.

Virtual theatre comes with challenges, Ramos said. Many productions rely on precise timing and coordination and rely heavily on person-to-person interaction. But despite these challenges, Ramos said the show season is happening — with a typical number of productions like any given year.

“Everything is in motion,” he said. “Everything has been transported into the Zoom environment, everything is full-on going and still happening.”

Outside of Northwestern theatre, other groups are putting their in-person activities on hold and focusing on the social aspects of the group while school remains virtual.

Weinberg freshman Zoe Maroko — who is deferring enrollment until Winter Quarter — said she is still able to connect with her peers through NU’s synchronized skating team The Purple Line, whose main purpose is nearly impossible to complete while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

The Purple Line has transitioned to a completely remote model, which means the team can’t skate as a group but still meets online for social gatherings. Maroko said if she wants to skate, she has to practice on her own, away from the club.

Despite the drastic change, Maroko said she’s still grateful for the opportunity to develop a bond with the other members. In fact, she said clubs are one of the only ways she can connect with other students since she’s not pursuing any coursework until January.

Maroko said she’s counting down the days until she can skate in person with her peers for the first time.

“I always knew that clubs would be a big part of my college experience,” she said. “Once they’re in person, I’m going to be 10 times more grateful just to be there.”

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Twitter: @nick24francis

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