Elon’s Student Union Board has organized free weekend activities for the student body since 1984. But when the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way that people can safely interact with one another, SUB had to alter their event planning for the fall 2020 semester.
According to their website, SUB’s mission statement is “to provide entertainment which complement, reflect and respond to the university’s student community.” The board is made up of different sectors: Late Night, SUB Presents, SUB Cinema, Fan Engagement, SUB Performance and their marketing team. SUB puts on free events from 10 p.m. to midnight every Thursday and from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on some Fridays and Saturdays.
Late Night hosts weekly events every Thursday. These events commonly include bingo, trivia and movie nights. SUB Presents brings performers to campus. In the past, some of these performers have included the Chainsmokers, Maroon 5 and Mac Miller.
Fan Engagement hosts school spirit events, such as tailgate parties during the football season. SUB Performance brings the spring comedian to campus and puts on the homecoming concert. SUB Cinema puts on movies every weekend in Turner Theatre. Last year, SUB put together a carnival, a casino night and more.
“[The events are] just kinda to give students the opportunity to still have fun but make sure that it’s safe … so that students aren’t going out and doing things that could be potentially harmful to them,” said Late Night chair and sophomore Christina Carr.
Adapting to COVID-19 has still caused challenges. Before campus closed due to the pandemic last semester, the board had already started to plan events for the fall, but some of those events had to be canceled and changed to fit safety guidelines. Carr said it’s been difficult to come up with ideas that come across both virtually and in-person, since a big factor of past in-person events have included contact and food. Another issue that they’ve been having is just getting the word out that SUB is still programming this semester.
Even with these challenges, SUB is moving forward and trying to make the best out of this new reality. They want students to know that despite the university’s current Level 3 — High Alert coronavirus status, there are still things to do around campus.
Through the fall 2020 semester, SUB is hosting hybrid events so that students can choose to attend in person or on Zoom.
“Our events are just as fun and just as engaging and welcoming to students, especially now with some students not being on campus. Like, if you’re at home … you can still join the Zoom call and play bingo, even though you’re not on campus,” said Carr.
SUB has taken the pandemic as an opportunity to get more creative with their event planning. They’re hosting outdoor movies in Rhodes Stadium, an idea they had not previously considered.
“A lot of first-year students have never been to the stadium, and so this can be their first time to go there. Even though there’s not a sports game happening, it still brings in that school spirit,” Carr said.
Weekly SUB events can be found on their website, elonsub.org. Subscribe to their mailing list to learn about events going on every week. Students can follow SUB on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat at @elonsub.