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Covid19 Changes

Spring 2021

The Office of Student Involvement (OSI) will continue to support the meaningful, developmental and vibrant engagement of students and student organizations in the Spring 2021 semester. Working with our Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs), we will implement guidelines and criteria to maintain the health and safety of students participating in student organizations and student organization programming in this Spring Flex semester.  

Low density and low contact programming will be the standard for all in-person, hybrid, and/or virtual programs. Student organizations will reimagine meetings, events, and activities using physical distancing and virtual options for larger groups or students who are unable to participate in person. In order to help RSOs achieve their missions and goals related to programming, OSI has developed the Risk Assessment and Planning Tool for student organizations to utilize when event planning.  

Designed to help students think through risk reduction planning related to COVID19, this risk assessment and planning tool must be completed along with any program, event, or space request. In this manner, staff can determine the unique request needs and TCNJ’s ability to meet those needs based on space availability and equitable access. This tool provides clear and standard practices so students know, in advance, how to plan their meeting, event, and activity requests. 

Programs that demonstrate adherence to NJ, Ewing, and TCNJ guidelines through the risk assessment and planning tool will be permitted to occur. Those that do not meet these standards will be encouraged to work with OSI staff to creatively think through how to better meet these guidelines; potentially allowing the event to occur. Unfortunately, any programs that can not be modified to achieve those mandates will not be permitted until further notice.   

We understand the dramatic shift to your operations that this change creates, but we enthusiastically look forward to finding creative solutions to support the amazing work your organizations do.  

RSO Recruitment

Student Involvement Fair – TCNJ’s Student Organization Expo

With the success of the Fall 2020 Virtual Student Involvement Fair, we are all set to host the Spring 2021 Virtual Student Involvement Fair on February 10, 2021. OSI is will be utilizing the same Virtual Software program from Fall 2020. Information will be sent to RSOs in December 2020.  (Be sure to re-register your group to ensure your ability to participate!)

RSO Trainings 

Risk Management Training & Case Study Competition 

OSI will again be hosting our Risk Management Training & Case Study Competition. Stay tuned for details on how to compete and win prizes. 

FYI w/OSI

This program allows student organizations to schedule virtual meetings with OSI professional staff members in a casual and small group setting.  These will take place monthly and will highlight topics pertinent to student organization success. 

The First Spring 2021 Preparation FYI w/OSI will be Friday, November 13 at 2pm https://tcnj.zoom.us/j/96122355663?pwd=Vit2N1YwVHBBcFVYNXZzZ1BJZTMrQT09 

Request for Services Form

OSI will continue to advertise services provided by offices and departments across campus in its RSO newsletter. Student organizations can still request OSI to connect them to any office on campus. 

Meetings & Events

Student Organization Meetings (Term Assignments) 

With limited physical space and time slots available, all RSO regular meetings and executive board meetings will be virtual. Based on feedback from the Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 semesters, RSOs identified group meetings as a specific area of their functioning that transitioned to Zoom effectively. 


RSO Events 

All in-person off campus events, programs, and/or activities must follow physical distancing guidelines and maximum occupancy guidelines from the State of NJ,  Ewing Township, and TCNJ. Currently, these guidelines include limiting indoor gatherings to 25% of a room or structures capacity with a maximum of 10 persons (Most Off Campus Homes in Ewing have a capacity of less than 20, effectively reducing their capacity to the persons that live there). All attendees at indoor events must wear a face mask and maintain a 6’ physical distance from others. There may be additional guidelines and protocols governing these events that should be researched and observed in order to conduct a safe and compliant in-person off campus event. This is just a summary for general planning purposes.

Outdoor gatherings are currently limited to 25 persons with certain protocol in place.  Some can be found here. In addition, there may be additional guidelines and protocols governing these events that should be researched and observed in order to conduct a safe and compliant in-person off campus event. This is just a summary for general planning purposes.

Reported failure to abide by any guidelines will be referred directly to the Office of Student Conduct.

***The College’s highest priority is the physical and mental health, safety, and well-being of individual students and the campus community. As a means to be in compliance with the Campus Health and Safety policy and encourage student reporting, any student sharing information with a contact tracer, the College, or the local health department shall not be formally charged for the unlawful use or possession of alcohol and/or drugs if reporting includes these details. Although this does not relieve any student or organization from responsibility for other policy violations that may have occurred during a time where community members could have been impacted by COVID-19, the effort to share all relevant information (such as: time and location of potential case exposure and students and/or individuals in attendance) for the affected student may be a mitigating factor in sanctioning. Affected students may be required to complete an evaluation or other education programs, but will not face disciplinary charges or sanctions as prescribed through the student conduct process.

While we strongly encourage virtual events, student organizations will have the opportunity to host up to three (3) on-campus in-person events during the Spring 2021 semester.  OSI has worked with a number of on campus partners to secure programming spaces and processes that will allow RSO’s the opportunity to create an in person event experience in the safest way possible.  These events will require RSOs to complete the OSI Risk Assessment and Planning Tool to understand criteria and protocol necessary to host one of these events. All events will be limited to a 3 hour time limit. It is up to each organization to decide if it is absolutely necessary to hold the event on campus or if it would be better suited to be held virtually. Virtual Events that do not entail an in-person component will not require the completion of this Tool, but may still be eligible for SFB funding. Off-campus events will not be funded by SFB or approved by OSI.  We realize this process is very different than in the past but we hope it will give you all the chance to plan events in the safest way possible!   

Food

Food at indoor events is not permitted.  However, RSOs can utilize prepacked foods (bags of chips, water bottles, etc.) under a “grab and go” method as students leave.

Food at outdoor events is still limited to prepacked items. Prepackaged items can be made available in a “grab and go” method where students pick what they want. Students can take the food with them to go or can eat the food at the event if physical distance of 6 feet from each others is maintained while eating. 

Student Travel 

The Student Travel policy will be suspended for the Spring 2021 semester and all related student travel is cancelled.  

Vendor Tables

No vendor tables will be available anywhere on campus during the Spring 2021 semester.

Fundraising 

OSI will be continuing the Interim Fundraising Process for the Spring 2021 semester. 

Advertising, Marketing, and Community Engagement 

RSOs will be able to use the Roar app to advertise their groups and events. RSOs are also encouraged to create Google email groups to send information to group members and interested students. Additionally, OSI will be utilizing the Posting Policy Process form to identify events for its new ThisWeek@TCNJ.edu weekly email to all students. Any RSO approved events that tag OSI will be re-shared.

 

Fraternity & Sorority Life

Fraternities and sororities will continue to reimagine chapter meetings, events, recruitment, and activities using physical distancing and virtual options for larger groups or students who are unable to participate in person. 

Fraternity and Sorority Life staff will continue to hold virtual meetings on a regular basis with: chapter and council leadership, alumni advisors and faculty/staff advisors, and (inter)national headquarters staff, etc. Monthly meetings with chapter and council leaders will also be virtual. All chapter meetings will be held virtually, although chapters may request to host an in-person meeting utilizing the “RSO Event” procedure identified by OSI. 

As a support for Fraternity and Sororities, OSI will send updates to chapter leadership as State of NJ and Ewing Township guidelines change so that chapters can continue to abide by the most current and necessary protocols and maintain this information in a central accessible location. 

Social Activity

All off-campus social events, including formals, will be advised to follow physical distancing guidelines and maximum occupancy guidelines from the State of NJ and Ewing Township. Reported failure to abide by these guidelines will be referred directly to the Office of Student Conduct.

Service and Philanthropy

Students will be encouraged to creatively approach service and philanthropy. Whether working with charitable organizations to perform services from home or engaging in group activity that complies with NJ and Ewing guidelines for events, students will have the opportunity to continue to live the service related missions of their organizations. Philanthropic efforts will need to follow the Interim Fundraising Policy that was implemented in Summer 2020.

Educational Programs 

Educational programs can continue to happen in a virtual, hybrid, or on-campus setting. Student organizations will be able to host a very limited number of on-campus events in the Brower Student Center or utilizing outdoor spaces. These events will require groups to complete the OSI Risk Assessment and Planning Tool to understand criteria and protocol necessary to host one of these events. This will be the first step in any event planning, space requests, and/or request of funds from SFB.  All on-campus events should be provided in a hybrid manner to provide access to those unable to attend the event in person. 

All on-campus events will have a detailed safety protocol for setup and event hosting. This protocol will be shared with all groups during the reservation process. 

Virtual Events that do not entail an in-person component will not require the completion of this Tool.

Assessment Packets

Assessment Packets will still be submitted and graded, but will be modified to reflect the current pandemic and campus changes. A revised packet for Spring 2021 will be provided to chapters within the first 3 weeks of the semester and may be modified to reflect potentially changing conditions. 

FSL President’s Ball

The President’s Ball Celebration and Recognition event will be held in Spring 2021. We are exploring both a hybrid and virtual-only option. More information will be provided in the coming weeks.

FSL Leadership Retreat

The annual Leadership Retreat for the council executive boards and chapter presidents will be held virtually Saturday, February 6, 2021. More information will be provided.

Recruitment/Intake

  • Membership will still be restricted to second semester students and beyond (no first semester, first year students). Transfer students with the appropriate completion of units/credits will be eligible to participate in recruitment and intake efforts.
  • All councils will be required to modify their council-wide recruitment activities to be virtual, including but not limited to Meet the Brothers, Meet the Sisters, and Meet the Greeks.
  • All students interested in joining will still be required to complete a grade release form ensuring that they qualify by both GPA and credit/unit to join.
  • All students being offered an invitation to begin a group’s affiliating process will be identified to OSI ahead of the invitation being made. Once invitations are made, a maximum of 6 weeks may be used to complete the affiliating process. 
  • Students that are accepting invitations will be required to complete an online hazing prevention course within the first two weeks of their affiliating process or sooner, depending on the organization’s affiliation process. 
  • Students will be required to complete an alcohol related online program from the ADEP office.
  • Any students wishing to discontinue the affiliating process will still be required to fill out a “new member drop form.”
  • The New Member Paperwork will be modified to include a section to educate students on COVID-19 protocol for chapters and new members processes.
  • The use of alcohol and/or drugs is still prohibited in the new member recruitment/informational process and in the affiliating process.
  • Any chapter may request an in-person recruitment/information session. These requests will be reviewed using the same Risk Assessment and Planning tool for Book.it requested events. These events would require a virtual component for students unable or unwilling to attend in person.
  • All chapters must submit dates/times/methods (locations or virtual format) of their recruitment/information sessions to OSI.

New Member Education

Chapters will still be required to submit new member education/intake programs to OSI for approval. These programs must comply with all New Member Guidelines. These programs will still be required to detail date/time/content/method (on-campus, in person, Zoom, Google Meet, etc.).

All chapters will need to provide plans to initiate (virtually or in accordance with current NJ state and Ewing township guidelines), with initiation to take place no later than May 1, 2021. At the conclusion of the affiliating process, chapters will confirm their initiation process plan with the Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, who will confirm that the initiation process still conforms with the current State of NJ, local, and TCNJ event and distancing guidelines. Within 48 hours of completing the initiation, chapters will notify OSI with the name and PAWS ID of every successful initiate.


Fall 2021

Dear Recognized Student Organization Leaders:

This summer OSI has collaborated with a number of offices and stakeholders to develop the guidelines and protocols shared below to help balance the need for individual and group safety with the unrelenting passion you have to pursue the mission of your organizations. We already know that Fall 2020 will be very different, but we hope that we can work collectively to support TCNJ RSOs to help bring life and energy to the virtual campus community in these uniquely challenging times.

With the recent move to a Virtual-Only Fall 2020, we’ve adapted our policies, guidelines, recommendations, and resources to work to advance your organization’s ability to live its mission this coming semester.

We realize there is a lot of uncertainty about all this, but hope the information below helps you get started in your planning for Fall 2020.

As always, we are here to help.  Feel free to reach out to us at involvement@tcnj.edu.  We will share more information as it becomes available.

Key Events that have already happened:
Fall 2020 FYI w/OSI Monday, August 10 at 8pm
Fall 2020 FYI w/OSI Wednesday, August 12 at 3pm
Virtual Student Involvement Fair – August 26, 12pm – 3pm
Virtual Student Org Summit – September 2, 9:15am-1pm

This year, RSOs will likely have very different questions than in previous years. SOS 2020 will help organizations be successful this year by providing the tools necessary to navigate changing social climates, as well as supporting and recruiting members. RSOs will learn about Federal and College policy updates, new guidelines, and will be given information on how to access the support of campus professionals. As a reminder, all organizations are required to send at least one active member to attend SOS, and this program is open to all Active and Inactive organizations (de-recognized organizations may not participate).


Step 1. Mark These Dates Down

FYI w/OSI Open Office hours – September 10
This is your chance to speak one of one with OSI professional staff to discuss the needs of your organization.  To sign-up for a time, email Jenn at simonj@tcnj.edu.  


Step 2. Rethink How Your Organization Operates

We have put together these resources to help you think through how you can live the mission of your group in these challenging environments. 

  1. Rethink the Fall
  2. Member Recruitment
  3. Virtual Event Tips
  4. Zoom Basics
  5. Member Engagement Brainstorm
  6. Fraternity & Sorority Life

Step 3. New Processes and Procedures 

All Student Organization Events and Meetings Should Move Virtual
Many organizations may have held virtual events and meetings in the spring or over the summer.  Others may not have, either way our office will continue to support RSOs as they plan for fall.  Additionally we are extending all RSO Zoom accounts and have included some resources on how to effectively use Zoom for meetings and events. Groups should also consider if attendance should be limited to group members, TCNJ students, or open to all when planning Virtual Only events. RSO Zoom accounts can be used for RSO events and for outsourced events if you follow any vendor, performer, or artist protocol for the event. OSI is happy to help you think through that! 

Spring 2021 Events
Book-It will not open for spring 2021 reservations until we have a better idea of what spring will look like.  We will share more information once we receive it.  

In-Person Off Campus Events
All off-campus activities should utilize the Risk Assessment and Planning Form as a guide to reduce COVID19 related risks. All in-person off campus events, programs, and/or activities must follow physical distancing guidelines and maximum occupancy guidelines from the State of NJ,  Ewing Township, and TCNJ. Currently, these guidelines include limiting indoor gatherings to 25% of a room or structures capacity with a maximum of 25 persons (Most Off Campus Homes in Ewing have a capacity of less than 20, effectively reducing their capacity to the persons that live there). All attendees at indoor events must wear a face mask and maintain a 6’ physical distance from others. There may be additional guidelines and protocols governing these events that should be researched and observed in order to conduct a safe and compliant in-person off campus event. This is just a summary for general planning purposes. 

Outdoor gatherings are currently limited to 500 persons with certain protocol in place.  Some can be found here. In addition, there may be additional guidelines and protocols governing these events that should be researched and observed in order to conduct a safe and compliant in-person off campus event. This is just a summary for general planning purposes. 

Reported failure to abide by any guidelines will be referred directly to the Office of Student Conduct.

***The College’s highest priority is the physical and mental health, safety, and well-being of individual students and the campus community. As a means to be in compliance with the Campus Health and Safety policy and encourage student reporting, any student sharing information with a contact tracer, the College, or the local health department shall not be formally charged for the unlawful use or possession of alcohol and/or drugs if reporting includes these details. Although this does not relieve any student or organization from responsibility for other policy violations that may have occurred during a time where community members could have been impacted by COVID-19, the effort to share all relevant information (such as: time and location of potential case exposure and students and/or individuals in attendance) for the affected student may be a mitigating factor in sanctioning. Affected students may be required to complete an evaluation or other education programs, but will not face disciplinary charges or sanctions as prescribed through the student conduct process.

SFB Funding
(UPDATED September 1): All organizations that want to receive funding for an event must submit a base budget or special application form with all appropriate signatures to sfbea@tcnj.edu. If they have been approved for SFB funding then to receive those funds they must go through the voucher process. First they must fill out  https://forms.gle/UJmTBNQwVTi6uLCG8  and receive all appropriate signatures for their vouchers. Then, they can check the check pick up log here:https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xFCU_q0eDxreBqxNMd43yZ9dGf724p-wcmzcriY_64o/edit#gid=1849519464 or on the SFB website:https://www.studentfinanceboard.com/ to see the status of the check. Once the check is processed we will update it on the log.

As you read in an earlier email this summer from President Foster, there will be no Student Activity Fee for the 2020-2021 academic year. Working to support these financial cost-savings for students and balance RSO ability to deliver engaging virtual programs, SFB has been working to identify funding in their reserves that can be used in a limited capacity for the Fall 2020 semester. Due to these circumstances, SFB has decided to rescind all Base Budgets submitted for the Fall 2020 Semester or 2020-2021 Academic Year. 

Organizations do have an opportunity to create a new budget with virtual events. RSO’s are encouraged to think creatively and plan for virtual events. The budget will only be for the Fall 2020 semester and students will have the opportunity to reapply for the Spring 2021 semester for funding.

Compared to previous years, this year the SFB will be loosening deadline restrictions on base budgets due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The base budget will have a rolling application period and organizations will also have the opportunity to submit special applications requests after submitting a base budget. The SFB will start reviewing the base budgets starting August 14, 2020. Special applications must be submitted two weeks prior to the event date to be reviewed for approval. All special applications and base budgets must be submitted to sfbea@tcnj.edu for review.

Base budgets that do not have all appropriate signatures will not be reviewed. Please visit this link to view and contact your liaison.

SFB will be also be funding Virtual Events through its Special Application process. The Special Application and more information can be found on their website.  Applications can only be submitted for events during the Fall 2020 Semester, and the Application will open on Sunday, August 23, with SFB’s first meeting on Wednesday, August 26. For virtual events during the Fall Semester, a RSO must submit their Special Application by Tuesday at 12PM (Which can be emailed to sfbea@tcnj.edu) if they would like to present the following day (Wednesday) during the weekly G-Board Meetings, as stated on SFB’s Website. For the Special Applications, normal SFB procedures must be followed in which the Application must be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to the event date, all signatures must be present, supporting invoices/documents should be included, and additional information which can be found on SFB’s website.

Despite the restrictions behind the Fall 2020 Semester, RSO’s will still be able to access their Fundraising Balances. Furthermore, Cash Advances that were taken out during the Spring 2020 Semester but were not returned will be due back to SFB by September 30th, 2020. With limited in-person interaction, SFB will be releasing a new system that connects Recognized Student Organizations with the Student Finance Board through a mobile payment service. More details on this will be coming shortly, so please look out for this information!

Please reach out to sfboard@tcnj.edu with questions.

Fundraising
OSI will be continuing the Interim Fundraising Process for the Fall 2020 semester. 

Student Travel
The Student Travel policy will be suspended for the Fall 2020 semester and all related student travel is cancelled.  Please also don’t encourage members to travel on their own (as part of the group).  

Advertising, Marketing, and Community Engagement :
RSOs will be able to use the new Roar app to advertise their groups and events. RSOs are also encouraged to create Google email groups to send information to group members and interested students and the Recognized Student Organization Google group still exists for sending information to other RSOs. RSOs that tag OSI on Instagram can get a re-share.  Additionally, OSI will be crating a new ThisWeek@TCNJ.edu weekly email to all students publicizing your events and opportunities. More info coming soon on how to submit for this!   

 

 

 

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