Student Engagement adds precautions to Mane Month Events

Emory Brown | Diorama Culture Editor

Emory Brown, Diorama Culture Editor

Throughout the first month of the fall semester, the University of North Alabama holds an accumulation of campus events hosted and organized by various clubs, groups and departments. The month-long series of activities, named Mane Month, kicks off the school year by providing opportunities for students to connect, encouraging campus involvement and displaying what the coming semester has to offer. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Student Engagement has outlined new guidelines and safety precautions to better ensure the health of those in attendance of Mane Month activities. 

According to Mane Month guidelines, activities must make every effort to ensure that 6 feet social distancing is possible at all gatherings, attendees must wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible and occupancy should never exceed 50% of seated capacity.

The Office of Student Engagement has provided an updated digital brochure on UNA’s website. It presents the schedule of Mane Month events and accompanying them with icons identifying which safety precautions should be applied. These icons specify the requirements for face coverings, 6 feet social distancing, temperature checks, RSVPs and when an event is virtual only. 

UNA student, Bonnie Smith, will be holding a booth during Mane Month for the American Association of University Women. She stated that she was worried about shaky communication throughout Mane Month and students becoming less involved due to all the changes and confusion that come with the uncertainty of this pandemic.

“I feel like there will be a lot of anxiety coming back into the school year and especially with the events during Mane Month,” Smith said. “As a president of two different organizations, I can tell you that there is so much of this that is going to be playing it by ear.”

Events like the Lucky Dip Festival, The Big Deal Vendor Fair and College Panhellenic Bid Day, have been altered to me         aet safety guidelines and all events are subject to change further. 

Due to COVID-19 and the reconstruction of the original fountain, the Lucky Dip Festival has been canceled. Students may continue the tradition of dipping their pencils for good luck on the first day of fall classes in the smaller fountains on each side of the University’s plaza.

The Big Deal Vendor Fair, held by various groups and businesses on the first Thursday of fall classes, will continue to play its major role in Mane Month by providing booths and tables for students to browse, snag free merch and win prizes. Although the event remains, it will include temperature checks, masks, and social distancing. 

UNA senior, Sami Erickson, shared her feelings about the overall effectiveness of this year’s Mane Month including masks, social distancing and temperature checks.

“Being a senior, I’ve seen my fair share of Mane Month events and seen their effect on helping freshmen feel more at home on campus, getting to know people, and finding ways to be involved,” Erickson said. “I think that the events being altered and the precautions being placed will make it harder for students to socialize and get the most out of Mane Month.”

She shared that she hoped that new students would make efforts to reach out to other students through social media or some form of online communication, because meeting new people may not be as easy as in previous years. 

 “I just think it’s gonna be harder,” Erickson said. “Especially for new students.”

UNA is continually working on ways to better protect the campus community and are committed to informing students on updates regarding COVID-19. Although these guidelines may alter the standard dynamic and effectiveness of prior Mane Months, they have been placed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone in attendance.