MSU Life adjusts to social distancing
Throughout Minot State, MSU Life is widely known to students, faculty, and staff for the hundreds of events they put on all schoolyear for students free of charge. It’s hard to find a student on campus who hasn’t attended an MSU Life event. From bingo and Family Feud in the Beaver Dam, to free mini golf at the Putt District, MSU Life is always putting on events. Now with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the world, packing students into a small space for MSU Life events far from adheres to social distancing standards.
MSU Life will have to adapt to these standards in order to continue to put on their events. One of the directors of entertainment for MSU Life, Payton Bland, highlights a few of the changes MSU Life has made due to the pandemic.
“Masks aren’t necessarily required off campus or outside, but they are encouraged. Every event we have is a maxed capacity event. We’ve been trying to do this thing where we rent a certain amount of people out. So, we have like 100 coupons for the zoo or 100 coupons for Spicy Pie. Everything is at a limit which makes that supply and demand better,” she said.
Most recently, changes to events put on by MSU Life impacted a campus favorite: bingo night, where students flood the Beaver Dam for a chance to win prizes.
“For our bingo at the beginning of the year, we spray painted 6-feet apart dots on the Old Main lawn to make sure that everyone was apart and also, everything was offered virtually. If we have a big event like that, people can tune in online if they’re either quarantined or not comfortable with big crowds,” Bland explained.
Bingo on Old Main’s lawn is famously MSU Life’s first big event to start each new year, and the current pandemic led to MSU Life offering the event virtually as well. Despite the challenges, Bland points out its success.
“It was actually really successful. This year we had the most bingo players we’ve had ever, I believe. It was like 486 people online and in person. Obviously, the majority were in person, but it was so nice to be able to see a crowd again,” Bland said.
Having an event this successful given the circumstances is remarkable, especially considering MSU Life didn’t know if they would be able to put any events on.
“We didn’t know if that was going to happen and, for the longest time, we thought that there were going to be zero events,” Bland said.
COVID-19 has forced MSU Life to make many modifications to their events, but despite the pandemic, the team is planning to conduct all events. Many of these modifications are due to the pandemic, but some may be here to stay.
“Yes, they could definitely be virtual events. We’ve realized a lot of people — whether it be moms or people who are busy on a Thursday night or things like that — a lot of people have liked the virtual events. Say someone isn’t a people person and doesn’t like being social. That also helps them as well. So, we didn’t realize all these things and it’s a really good way to learn. We’ll definitely use those tactics after the pandemic as well,” Bland explained.
To learn more about events, follow MSU Life on Instagram.