Note from the Director
Wow, what a year!
In March of 2020, students were on spring break, and the nation began closing most activities down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The MSC staff and our student leaders quickly learned Zoom and shifted to all virtual programming. We had to cancel all remaining in-person programming, which had the greatest impact on many of our committees, especially MSC OPAS, which had three major Broadway shows that had to be canceled. Our MSC Box Office processed thousands of dollars in refunds for many events. To our surprise, several ticket holders asked us to keep their funds as donations. We are greatly appreciative to those who did this.
We selected most of our student leaders and their executive teams via Zoom. We hosted virtual transition retreats and awards ceremonies and began planning virtual programs for the fall 2020 semester.
When the students returned in the fall, masks and physical distancing were a standard requirement. The MSC ballroom spaces converted to classroom space to accommodate the physical distancing as recommended by the CDC. Many of our students had classes in the evening, but most were offered virtually, hybrid or asynchronous. Virtual programming or outdoor programming became the standard of interaction with students. No football tailgates or other in-person interactions with our former students occurred. It wasn’t until the spring semester that our students began meeting together in large rooms or at off-campus locations. Many of our committees stepped up to the challenge, especially MSC Town Hall who hosted many outdoor events.
As we started receiving vaccinations and some of the meeting/gathering restrictions loosened in the spring semester our committees were allowed to host a number of hybrid programs (in-person, physically distanced, and virtual), which allowed us to open many programs to a broader audience; including family members, interested community members, and former students.
Our students and talented staff found many ways to deliver programs through the pandemic. MSC OPAS produced live streaming of the Choir of Man from a pub in London. With the time zone differences, the group in London didn’t start their performance until after midnight. This production was only for the MSC OPAS audience and was great fun. They also produced two other virtual programs.
Other MSC programs were in person, like the MSC Student Conference on Latinx Awareness, and MSC CAMAC produced the LatinX Theatre, which was produced just for our campus and included our students as actors. MSC Town Hall produced several evening events and Coffee Houses. The MSC Wiley Lecture Series heard from Secretary Robert Gates about China.
I’m sorry I can’t mention all the wonderful programs and events our students and staff have produced; please know there are many. It will also be great to see how our students have stepped up and continued learning life skills while gaining friendships that last a lifetime.
During this last year, we produced over 105 programs attracting audiences in-person of 10,400 and 43,000 virtually. We learned many lessons that will take us forward as we begin fully programming for the fall semester.
We hosted two virtual development events this spring allowing our students to share with many of our donors the many things we have been doing and, most importantly, some of the skills our former students gained through their involvement so many years ago. The connections at these events were wonderful. We also raised a little money for our committees.
We have a new set of officers who are excited about meeting in person and that we were able to have in-person transition training. We look forward to a great Football season and hope you can join us at our tailgates in the Student Programs Office 2.5 hours to 30 minutes before each home game. For several years, these tailgates have been funded by Robert Gonzales ’68 in honor of his parents, and he is committed to supporting this tradition again for the 2021 football season. We have so much to be thankful for and continue to appreciate all the support you have provided over the years and continue to provide. If you are wondering where to donate. Please look at the card at the end of this newsletter and make our day by making a gift. If you are thinking of something larger or a planned gift, don’t hesitate to give me a call and we can put you in touch with the right people to make this happen.