Student Entertainment Council adapts to creating virtual events

By Sarah Siock

While the coronavirus pandemic has changed just about every aspect of campus life this fall, Rider’s Student Entertainment Council (SEC) is still working hard to keep everyone connected.

Each semester, the SEC takes on the responsibility of planning campus traditions and various events. Traditionally, the programming board would focus on organizing in-person student activities. However, this semester the council adapted to creating virtual events for students.

“People can expect events we have never had before,” said senior business management major and SEC President Goanio Chavarria. “There will be new styles to some already existing events and new events. Being virtual has opened new doors to us.”

A brand new event SEC planned for this semester was a virtual dating game show called Rider Romance. The event took place on Sept.14 and was hosted by Blake Horstmann from ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” SEC members said the virtual format allowed them to book the high-profile host.

“Blake lives in California. Normally, we would not have been able to fly him in but we can talk to him over Zoom. Overall, it feels like there are so many opportunities to connect with people,” said Olivia Orlando, a senior arts and entertainment industry management major. Orlando handles off-campus relations for the SEC.

Despite events looking different this semester, SEC is aiming to keep campus traditions alive. For instance, SEC shifted Rider’s annual singing competition, R Factor, to a virtual event. The show was a success with hundreds of students tuning in via a Facebook live stream to watch.

While the SEC is effectively adapting to the new normal, members admitted that there are challenges.

“As a programming and event planning board, we love to get together and talk. This is when we get to bounce ideas off of one another and try to brainstorm the best events we can put on. Although we have been working well together, the biggest change is not being able to have our weekly in-person meetings,” said Chavarria.

For now, the SEC is meeting virtually to organize events, which has been met with some difficulties.

“One thing I have put more effort into is reaching out to my board and making sure everyone knows what they are doing. Since we cannot physically meet, communication is more important than ever now,” Chavarria added.

The SEC acknowledged that some events are not suited for a virtual format. Traditional events such as the fall concert and “I Love College Party” will not take place this fall. However, SEC members are still striving to make the most of the semester.

“We are used to large in-person events that are unable to happen right now. The most important thing we discussed in our first meeting was approaching the semester with an open mind and embracing the challenge of planning events in this new format. Even though the events may be virtual, we are all still very committed to bringing the Rider community together,” said sophomore digital marketing major and SEC Public Relations Co-Chair Kayla Wagner.

Zoom is a helpful tool that the SEC is using to keep the campus connected. The organization is planning on hosting several live events through Zoom this semester.

Coming up, on Sept. 18, the council arranged for Miss New Jersey USA 2017 to speak with students through the video conferencing app.

“Not being able to have these large events that are held annually has pushed me to be more creative and think outside of the box, in hopes of creating new annual traditions,” said human resource management major and SEC Traditions Chair Lauren Matticoli.

SEC members said to look out for more virtual events as the semester continues.

There are plans for magicians, comedians and special guest speakers. To keep up with the latest events follow SEC on Instagram @rideru_sec.

“The SEC is working hard to make events not only happen but have them be fun and interactive. Being virtual isn’t the same. However, the board is doing its best to deliver the events we can come up with given the times we are all living in right now,” said Chavarria.

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