How will Michigan State’s student organizations look in the fall?

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Rebecca Mizell admits this year is going to be something new for Michigan State University’s Registered Student Organizations (RSOs).

“It’s not going to look like years past.”

Rebecca Mizell, business manager of Michigan State’s RSOs, said this in reference Sparticipation in Fall 2020.

Michigan State had over 900 RSOs in 2019 and, just as the rest of the world, there will be adjustment needed for the fall for close to all of them.

Sparticipation is an event in which RSOs set up a booth or tent so students have a chance to become a member. Mizell said the event “brings out, historically, about 15,000 students.”

Coverage of Sparticipation 2019, courtesy of The State News

But, because of social distancing guidelines and the risk COVID-19 poses, Mizell said the event will run differently this year.

“We’re currently planning the event three different ways,” Mizell said. “A hybrid model, a fully online model, which unfortunately will probably be the reality this year, and the fully in-person model.”

“Everything is still in the planning stages as far as fall (semester).”

How will RSOs organize?

While Sparticipation is being shifted to some sort of hybrid/online model, RSOs individually have to find what will work for them.

For Dr. Ryan Thompson, this too is still up in the air.

“I suspect that small clubs are going to be able to meet,” he said.

Dr. Ryan Thompson is a professor who advises a few different RSOs in the Esports Club Association (ECA), including Halo Club and Smash Club.

Thompson said nothing has been set in stone yet.

Thompson said in previous years, the students in RSOs he advises tend to be organized and independent for most of the events they run. Thompson said fall semester might have to have a more set schedule.

“I suspect that this fall instead of ECA determining their own schedule independently … I think one of me or (ECA advisor) Andrew (Dennis) is going to have to work with them to figure out which size of club is allowed in which space,” Thompson said. “They’ll sort out which space, or the library space if that’s still available, based on the rules of the pandemic that have shifted.

“One of a million rules that’s going to change this fall. It’s going to be a very different campus experience.”

Thompson said Dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences Prabu David and the dean’s office will have the final say on how RSOs will meet in ComArtSci.

Future Leaders in Sports and Entertainment (FLISE) is a professional development club, allowing students to network and try and get their foot in the door of the sports and entertainment industries.

“We offer meetings where we have speakers come in and talk,” FLISE President Madison Genord said. “We have some workshops for resumes and interview tips.”

Genord said FLISE has decided to fully go online, which has allowed them to change the way they make content.

“We’re looking into starting a podcast, nothing crazy big but something that our members can refer to,” Genord said. “We have a lot of students involved in Michigan State athletics … Why don’t we all just have a conversation. We get that question a lot, ‘What is like? How did you get hired?’”

Genord said the podcast will supplement the meetings and workshops throughout the year. Genord also said now FLISE can host virtual webinars with their members and teachers or professionals which can be more interactive than before.

“We’re hoping to build out panels with industry leaders across the country now that it’s virtual,” Genord said. “Our executive board will take turns hosting these meetings and will bring different topics on how their role has changed during all of this.

“There’s a chat feature for our members to ask questions, so I think it’ll be a good personal experience. I think it will feel more connected.”

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