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Still Eventful

Students find safe and virtual ways to stay connected
Story Series

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may have severely limited face-to-face interactions, but students’ resolve to remain connected is as strong as ever.

Annual activities such as Relay for Life and the Take Back the Night Rally continued, with people participating over the internet instead of in person. Meanwhile, student organizations adapted their busy spring happenings to comply with social distancing.

“Right now, we’re all so separate from each other, but by having events and doing things like this, we can keep the community together,” said Kristina Silvia, ’21, Program Council president.

The council ran a virtual open mic night and plans to move the campus-wide scavenger hunt to an online format on the last day of classes. It also hosts daily social media activities such as Wear the Bear Wednesday, during which people are encouraged to don their BSU gear and submit photos of themselves.

While COVID-19 dominates the news, organizers of Relay for Life and Take Back the Night know the fight against cancer and sexual abuse continues even during a pandemic.

“Cancer isn’t stopping,” said Michaela McCarthy, ’20, president of BSU’s Relay for Life organization. “There are still people every single day doing treatment. … That means we can't stop either.”

Relay for Life raised more than $28,000 for the American Cancer Society, and people can still donate through early summer. During the relay, participants honored loved ones lost to cancer, celebrated caregivers and survivors, and shared inspirational speeches during virtual ceremonies. Students walked around their homes and neighborhoods and lit luminarias.

Take Back the Night, run by the Sexual Violence Advocacy & Support Center, allows people to speak out against sexual assault and support survivors. The event typically features a rally and march across campus. While there was no march this year, students made posters and, through a Zoom call, listened to survivors and speakers from BSU Police and the Office of Equal Opportunity.

“With life changing so much, it’s still important to maintain some kind of normalcy,” said Christy Osborne, the center’s outreach coordinator. “Even though we’re physically distant from one another, it doesn’t mean we can’t be united together.”

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