Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the student organization experience will look very different this year, with student organization activity shifting to virtual, smaller, or hybrid formats for student events. We are confident that our organizations will use this as an opportunity to think creatively and continue to be the lifeblood of The Capstone. The Office of Student Involvement looks to support your efforts through pooling resources, offering consultation and support, and being a bridge to campus departments and services who wish to partner and support student organization missions and goals during this time.
As we move forward into the semester, Student organizations should think critically about the months ahead and seek to evaluate their missions and goals in light of COVID-19 considerations. They should be prepared to ask and reflect:
UA Student Organization policies pertaining to COVID-19 were created with the health and safety of our community as a primary focus. Student organization officers should lead implementation within their respective organizations and foster compliance with these requirements. As you review the resources provided in this document, please know that our entire campus community, including faculty, staff, administrators, and fellow students, bear the responsibility to ensure that we do our best to practice personal protective behaviors and to encourage student organization activities to mirror the same action.
In this document, we will share a few additional resources and information for use in the upcoming year. These are designed to help. If, however, there is any conflict between what is shared in these resources and the substance of any University policy or plan, the language of the policy or plan controls.
All UA faculty, staff, and students must participate in an online educational module on COVID-19. Student organizations should promote the use of personal protective behaviors described in that training, as well as being familiar with recognizing COVID-19 symptoms in themselves and others, and in using good judgement regarding social distancing.
Additionally, organizations should consider adopting a set of organization protective behaviors that support continued compliance with behaviors designed to help stop the spread of COVID. To the extent they are available, the division of Financial and Operations can provide PPE resources to student organizations for their events and programs. Allocation will occur as a part of the event registration and training process, and PPE can be requested by contacting Amelia Brock (email@example.com) in the Office of Student Involvement. Organizations should also consider purchasing their own PPE and cleaning materials, as PPE through the University may be limited.
For details regarding how personal protective behaviors connect with your events/programs, please see the Social Event Guidelines, which speaks to all events hosted by student organizations.
Many tools exist to assist your student organization with virtual meetings and other functions when possible. Holding hybrid meetings, to be inclusive of students who may not feel comfortable attending in person and to better accomplish social distancing capacities, is also strongly recommended. Any meeting that has required attendance for members must have a virtual component, if it is not entirely virtual.
The following platforms are recommended for student organization use:
In addition to the above-mentioned resources, UA has a number of tools and software that is downloadable to you as a student. Make sure your organization is utilizing the best possible resource to make you effective. Need more info? Visit OIT’s “Software and Technology Available to You” link, as well as the OIT’s comprehensive Software Catalog.
If you decide to conduct an in-person meeting, remember to register it properly and understand and know the guidelines for that specific space. You must comply with any policy restrictions on attendee limits and implement appropriate prevention and mitigation efforts consistent with University policy. This includes, but is not limited to, limiting contact between members as much as possible, including (but not limited to) establishing a digital attendance and sign-in mechanism, requiring masks, eliminating community food items, not conducting ice breakers that involve close contact or shared supplies for activities/crafts, reducing athletic competitions or activities where social distancing cannot occur.
If you are having food at your meeting, refer to the Social Event Guidelines, which governs all types of events, and provides additional steps required for registration and approval.
The Social Event Guidelines have been revised and includes an Addendum that addresses current details related to hosting on-campus, off-campus or virtual events, including health and safety measures related to the prevention of COVID-19.
The Addendum does not replace the main Social Event Guidelines (SEG) but supplements it and supersedes the SEG where conflicts arise. Items addressed include, but are not limited to:
Please review the Social Event Guidelines (SEG), for details related to registration and approval of events for the policy. The Office of Student Involvement can assist you with additional inquiries related to this policy and are available for consult and assist student organizations with successful development of proper event procedures.
The Social Event Guidelines (SEG) and the applicable SEG Addendum can be found on the Policies and Procedures page.
Student organizations should limit the exchange and distribution of materials at events, meetings, or gatherings. Consider providing digital handouts for distribution of meeting minutes, notes, or information sharing. Also, minimize distribution of items, unless pre-packaged or handled by a minimal number of individuals. Avoid sharing pens, laptops, etc. Giveaways should be provided on a limited capacity following guidance provided by the CDC and other COVID-19 resource tools.
It is encouraged, if tabling is necessary or mission-critical to your organization’s goals, that it is conducted outside. Student Organization tabling requires registration via mySOURCE.Here are some guidelines:
Tabling will NOT occur inside Ferguson Student Center in order to comply with social distancing in high traffic areas. Restrictions may also apply in academic buildings, residence hall, University Recreation facilities, and other campus buildings. Student organizations should inquire with the appropriate approving office or building manager, prior to set-up or submitting via mySOURCE.
Currently, all university-sponsored non-essential travel for all students, faculty, and staff is suspended, both international and domestic. A waiver process currently exists to grant limited exceptions, where determined. Regardless of the phase, all university related travel shall adhere to existing policy requiring notice or approval. No University of Alabama funds may be used to pay for any form of travel until further notice.
Conferences, service trips, competitions, out-of-town parties, or other organized activities outside of the State of Alabama should not be coordinated by student organization and as individual students are strongly discouraged and may require students to self-isolate for a period of time upon return to campus. In-State travel would be reviewed on a case by case basis. Student organizations should also consult with their national governing body, if applicable, regarding any specific restrictions or guidelines related to travel.
Domestic travel questions can be referred to Wade Bond, Director of Risk Management at firstname.lastname@example.org. International travel questions related to your student organization can be directed to Dr. Rosalind Moore-Miller, Executive Director of Student Engagement (email@example.com). Individual student international travel questions should be directed to Chad Berry, Associate Director for Education Abroad (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Student organizations should use caution in entering into contracts and take into consideration the various aspects of their activities and the space. Due to the fluid nature of dealing with COVID, events may be modified or canceled for health and safety reasons. It is important that as an organization or individual, you go into contract processes and consider all variables, building as much flexibility as possible into any agreement you elect to enter.
As a student organization, it is important to support the role you play in mirroring best practices as an organization. Continue to maintain or begin an online social media presence as an organization.
A key tip for successful social media in our current times is to model current best practices. Photos shared on social media should feature the reality of what your organization is currently doing, perhaps even featuring social distancing and masks. If you share an old photo, it is recommended that you tag it as such or reference it in the caption.
Join the fall #tidetogether campaign and support this collective priority. Tide Together is a call to inspire members of our UA community, to continue to stick together and practice prevention techniques (e.g., wearing a mask, social distancing, etc.) for the health and well-being of the entire campus community in these challenging and unprecedented times. We hope you will continue to build great and consistent connection within your organization.
Creative Consults are still available for your marketing and design needs, so please let us know how The SOURCE can assist.
Community Service conducted and organized by student organizations should be registered and approved via the mySOURCE event registration process.Plans will be reviewed by members of the event team, along with consultation from the Center for Service and Leadership. When such an event is approved, best practices provided by the Alabama Postsecondary Alliance for Community Engagement will be a basis for successful and appropriate service activities hosted by Student Organizations.
At this current time, it is recommended that organizations engage in low contact or no contact service. These service opportunities are defined as:
Student organizations should continue to remain aware of accessibility needs related to their virtual events or in-person events/programs. Event hosts should ensure that everyone has an opportunity to participate in the event. For assistance with accessibility needs or to report issues with accessibility, please speak to members of the Office of Student Involvement team. Another helpful campus resource is the Office of Disability Services, located in Houser Hall.
University Programs and the Office of Student Involvement have collaborated to create the Event Resource Request process. The Event Resource Request process was established to assist registered student organization and university departments in supporting events that help building community and inclusivity on campus, as well as in the general Tuscaloosa area, while also fostering growing partnership and communication between campus stakeholder.
This is a great way to find collaborators for an idea or program, advertising, financial, or logistical support to carry it off. Consider learning more about the process and submitting a request to the committee for review.
Student organization fundraising, bake sales, or other revenue generating activities should be registered via mySOURCE for approval. The location and method in which these activities take place should consider the following:
Organizations who have questions or wish to inquire about general fundraising guidelines should talk to representatives in The Office of Student Involvement and also refer to the Student Organization Manual.
Organizations are faced with shifting their engagement to new methods and also perhaps developing new priorities and goals. Here are a few guidelines to encourage morale and engagement with your members:
Student Involvement encourages organizations to utilize tools available to them to conduct successful programming. We will be here to connect them with departments and available resources.
If your organization is overseen by a national organization or governing body outside of UA (e.g. fraternities and sororities; Honor Societies; Academic or Religious Affiliated Groups) that has additional and/or more specific guidelines/rules, follow those guidelines as well.
If your organization is sponsored by, affiliated with, or supported by UA department, communicate with them regularly and follow any additional guidelines they have in place.
The research on the spread of COVID-19 through particles and aerosols created while singing, shouting, exercising, dancing, and playing instruments is not fully understood. When possible, consider holding these events virtually or in a well-ventilated, outdoor spaces. For these types of in-person activities, additional guidelines should be followed, and social distancing plans executed. The Office of Student Involvement will continue to review best practices and expert guidance and will consult with groups via the mySOURCE event registration process.When engaging in activities with physical exertion, dancing, increased vocal projection, shouting, and acting, it is recommended that:
Rehearsals, lessons, etc. sponsored by academic departments should follow departmental guidelines. We will continue to seek more information about this specific area to determine if appropriate accommodations are possible in the future.
Maintaining a healthy campus environment is the responsibility of all members of our UA community. In addition to individual responsibility, members of the community should foster accountability in the people around them and should address instances of non-compliance directly, if they are comfortable and it is safe to do so.As a reminder, all recognized student organizations are required to comply and adhere to all university and system plans, policies, procedures, and regulations, along with state and local laws and orders. Failure to do so, will result in action from the Office of Student Conduct.
Student organization advisors can assist our groups with helping stop the spread of COVID-19 and in supporting effective engagement this academic year through the following practices:
The guidelines and resources found in this page are a result of local, national, and global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will continue to be evaluated and reviewed as this incident evolves. Recommendations are subject to change and subject to modified timeline of enforcement.