OPINION: Students, staff are changing the future

Responses to pandemic will shape the way colleges handle future issues that may arise

Cougs+all+across+campus+are+helping+shape+WSU%27s+coronavirus+response.+

FEIRAN ZOU

Cougs all across campus are helping shape WSU’s coronavirus response.

MACKENNA ROWE, Evergreen columnist

COVID-19 has put a damper on the year. Though there are many downsides to the world’s situation, there is one topic that is not often considered. Whether it’s wearing masks, social distancing or even avoiding the temptation to eat in a restaurant, almost every person is changing and affecting history right at this moment.

Brian Shuffield, executive director for Student Involvement at WSU, shared the process of working with different student groups to make a plan.

“[We’re] trying to figure out how to advise and help students to navigate and make some of these shifts in student involvement,” Shuffield said. “We get to work very directly with the student organizations … It’s a really fun experience that we get to work closely with students … through those different things.”

Greek life is another significant part of WSU that had to change to a virtual format while still offering similar opportunities. Many chapters are working on plans for experiences, communication, virtual volunteer work and even costs. They have spent countless hours working together to continue Greek traditions and help new recruits.

Panhellenic President Megan Gould shared details on ways Greek life will be changing. She believes the experience of sororities and fraternities can still be preserved even though it is virtual.

“So I know it’s a little bit different just because we can’t be in person with each other, [but] I don’t think that it will affect the experience,” Gould said. “The chapters have put so much time and effort into making sure the experiences are still preserved for what they bring into people’s lives.”

As many schools and communities work together to come up with solutions to this pandemic, it is slowly changing the future. People’s actions, even in Pullman, help dictate the future of WSU and its community. This journey started with toilet paper shortages and has now migrated to keeping schools open and the economy running.

Shuffield said he oversees and interacts with many students directly and can assist in helping improve their college experience during this time.

“I think it’s really exciting. I think this is what we do. In almost all ways, we have never experienced something so dramatic as we are right now with the effects of COVID,” Shuffield said. “We’re changing and adjusting the things that we do and the programs we do and the things that we have based on the needs of our students.”

There is no blueprint for handling a pandemic in college, but working closely with students and staff can help prepare one.