Pirate Involvement Festival to cast off in new virtual format

OCC students recruited their peers to clubs and organization at the spring Pirate Involvement Festival on Feb. 11, prior to the COVID-19 shutdown. The fall event will be held online Sept. 21-25. 

Campus clubs are often considered an ideal starting point for incoming students hoping to connect with peers sharing similar academic or recreational interests. When Orange Coast College closed its campus in response to COVID 19, in-person club meetings were put on hold along with classes. The latter would resume after a brief period of reconfiguration, utilizing distance-friendly formats. Now Orange Coast College is preparing to similarly relaunch its clubs with the reformation of the Pirate Involvement Festival.

The reimagined festival will be conducted through Zoom Sept. 21-25. According to April Margol, office coordinator of the Associated Students of Orange Coast College office, plans are underway to ensure that students will be able to browse clubs through the Club and Organization’s page of OCC’s website roughly a week beforehand, with new clubs being added on a weekly basis as they are approved by the Student Government’s Inter-Club Council branch. The listings will also be made available via the college’s mobile app. A Zoom meeting will be created for each club during the festival, after which clubs will be encouraged to continue meeting throughout the semester by utilizing a variety of virtual platforms, which can include those already associated with academic use such Canvas or Zoom, or others that are more frequently used recreationally.

“Some clubs like Gamers Guild may have a Discord channel for playing video games together, while another club like Fashion Club might have an Instagram fashion show or share designs with each other over Pinterest,” Margol stated in an email. “It just depends on the club.”

The last Pirate Involvement Festival, which took place, physically, in the OCC Library Quad last February, boasted booths from over 60 different clubs and organizations. The total number that will be available through Zoom this year is still to be determined, as registration to be featured in the event will continue until 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11. Students are also still able to form new clubs provided that their group consists of at least five members, as well as a staff or faculty advisor.

“It will definitely make for a different experience,” Nathan Harvey, president of the College Republicans, said. “As an incoming [College Republican] last year, I got involved by going to on campus meetings and events.”

According to Harvey, the quarantine has had an impact on the dynamic of the College Republicans. With the group’s last in-person meeting took place shortly before the quarantine in March, the distance since then has added to the usual challenges of members moving on due to graduation or transfer. But the club is optimistic about the upcoming festival as an opportunity to recruit new members, and looking forward to their first official meeting later this month. 

For more information on the virtual Pirate Involvement Festival, check in with OCC’s Club and Organization page in the coming weeks. 

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