By Ashley Ward, Secretary and Assistant Editor
FARMINGTON 一 Extracurriculars at the University of Maine at Farmington have reported a struggle with student involvement and membership over the last 18 months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, group leaders believe that there is hope on the horizon.
For on-campus clubs, it was nearly impossible for students to engage in activities. Those that did join were faced with the responsibilities for several in-club positions.
“We took a hard hit last year with the pandemic and got all the way down to one member,” said Artemis Monteith, President of the Nightmare Club. According to Monteith, the club went all the way from 20 members to almost disbanding. Now the club has up to 16 members.
Learning Commons Coordinator William St. John noted increased difficulty in making new tutor hires for this academic year. “I’ve sent out dozens of emails…offering students jobs. Saying, ‘I’ll hire you! And you get to work your own hours, and get paid 12 bucks an hour!’ and most of them never replied,” St. John said.
St. John said that even though students haven’t been as aggressive at seeking out academic help from tutors, numbers are on the rise.
“…tutoring this semester is doing better than it was last semester at this time,” St. John said.
Despite the limited student participation last year, organizations on campus are optimistic about student interest levels returning to pre-pandemic levels with enough time. Advisor of the Student Senate Kirsten Swan said each incoming class of first year students brings a wave of reinvigorated enthusiasm back to extracurricular activities on campus. The increase of participation is observed in the demographics of several clubs and their members, as well as in the Student Senate.
“I think the future is pretty bright for the Student Senate. Everybody on the executive board is new, except for the President, and there are a lot of first and second year students that are Student Senators. There seems to be a lot of good energy in terms of wanting to get involved and wanting to find out what the Student Senate is all about,” Swan said.