By Samantha Smith
As more students return to campus this semester, the number of events held at Youngstown State University is increasing. YSU’s Student Activities has several events lined up for students this spring semester.
Carrie Anderson, associate director of Student Activities, explained there will be something every week, whether it be hosted by Student Activities or a collaboration with another department. She went on to give an example of a collaborative event the department will be having.
“Our big one on March  is Penguin Nights,” she said. “So once again, that is a collaborative effort with Kilcawley Center that we both program for.”
Anderson also explained what planning events for this semester is like and how the department is handling guidelines.
“Right now, our approach to programming really hasn’t changed very much,” she said. “Because we’re still thinking about things in a safety perspective of, like I mentioned, Penguin Nights. We don’t want everybody running in Kilcawley Center between 9 and midnight.”
With this, Student Activities offers separate times to participate in certain events and requires participants to sign up beforehand to reserve a spot for an event to make sure the number of people does not go over a safe capacity.
Anderson mentioned how excited she and the rest of Student Activities are about the amount of students back on campus this semester.
“It’s what we do,” she said. “We want people. I feel like our mission as Student Activities is to help students find their sense of belonging on campus so that they’re not just coming to class and going home or — like during COVID — signing into their computer and logging out.”
Anderson explained the difficulties of trying to get students to participate in events over the past two years.
“I feel like in the fall semester we finally had a chance to kind of get closer to being more on par and having more opportunities and different things, especially to be able to go back to like a little bit more normal,” she said. “I think the virtual stuff was really a hard sell for people.”
Student Activities wants to make sure students know what is occurring on campus and how they can participate in what Student Activities is trying to accomplish.
“Just letting [students] know what opportunities are out there for them again. I feel like we just lost so much knowledge. Like I could say before the pandemic, everybody would be like, ‘I know exactly what a Penguin Night is and what’s going on,’” she said. “Right now, maybe like half of our population knows what a Penguin Night is.”
For more information about Student Activities, which events will take place this semester or to sign up for an event, visit its website at ysu.edu/student-activities