Clubs & Organizations Remain Active Despite Pandemic

Students find new ways to foster community spirit
Karine Kanj will do whatever it takes to motivate her fellow students.

So when the president of Suffolk’s Student Government Association and more than 40 members of her organization met virtually for the first time following the Suffolk campus’ closing, she had a surprise for everyone.

Some familiar but unexpected guests were visible on the computer screen: President Marisa Kelly, Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students Ann Coyne, Associate Dean of Students Shawn Newton, and Assistant Dean/Director of Student Leadership and Involvement Dave DeAngelis.

“They answered any questions that we had, and it was an amazing and positive experience,” said Kanj, Class of 2021. “The students were really engaged in what was being said, and seeing everyone connecting with one another was uplifting.”
“What I’ve discovered during this time is that you can’t make excuses not to get your job done. You have to focus your energy on learning new things, being creative, and working together as a team.”
Karine Kanj President, Student Government Association

Maintaining campus ties

The Student Government Association is a perfect example of the more than 100 student-run clubs and organizations at Suffolk that remain active amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is no playbook in this unprecedented time, and I’m so proud of our student leaders who have stepped up to provide some normalcy with their student organizations and continue to support the out-of-classroom experience,” said DeAngelis.

Reporting the news

The Suffolk Journal, the student newspaper, continues to serve the University community through news articles posted on its website.

“A lot of our stories are related to the coronavirus and how the University is reacting to it,” said World News Editor Amy Koczera, Class of 2020, who is now working on a story about three international students who have returned to their home countries. The story will show how those countries are being impacted by the virus.

Koczera, a broadcast journalism major who, in addition to the Suffolk Journal, reports through her SU NEWS television course, said chronicling a world crisis has elevated her development as a journalist.

“I feel it has made me one hundred percent stronger,” she said. “I just need to keep putting stories together and informing the Suffolk community of what’s important for them to know. My professors have taught me that there is so much you can do as a journalist and how you need to work hard and be resilient.”
Amy Koczera in front of camera holding microphone
Amy Koczera

A tradition lives on

Every year the University celebrates the arts and community with a variety show presented by the Performing Arts Office featuring the talents of faculty, staff, students and alumni. This year will be no different, but Springfest will be presented entirely online, and members of the community have been invited to join the show’s grand finale, a community dance to the song “From Now On” from The Greatest Showman. Those who prefer not to dance may send a short video clip of themselves holding a sign with a message for students.

Completed videos are to be emailed to the Performing Arts Office, which will edit them into one grand finale. The complete show will be posted online on Friday, April 24.

Student events team

Patrick Lovelace, Class of 2021, is the president of the Program Council, which plans on- and off-campus entertainment and events for students. He continues to communicate with his organization’s members through digital platforms such as Facebook, GroupMe, and TikTok.

“This is a very busy time for us, because we’re in the middle of coordinating the upcoming election for next year’s executive board,” he said. “We’re also working on creating an online event through virtual community building.”

Like many student leaders, Lovelace, a Public Relations major, has a positive outlook on how he and his organization continue to operate.

“Even though times are challenging right now, you can’t stay stagnant,” he said. “We have to find new ways to get things done and learn from one another.

“Every resource that was ever available to you at Suffolk in person is still available online. It’s nice to know there are folks there who can support you, even if it’s virtually.”
Patrick Lovelace
Patrick Lovelace


Tony Ferullo
Office of Public Affairs

Greg Gatlin
Office of Public Affairs