As the semester begins, many students are eager to get involved and connect with other students. To meet new people with their same interests, some students turn to HornsLink, a UT website that lists the various organizations on campus. On the HornsLink platform, each organization has a description, events list and a few even indicate their response to COVID-19.
However, some organizations do not clearly express that they have become temporarily inactive due to COVID-19. This creates frustration for students who want to become active in organizations but, when they find one that interests them after long periods of searching, are unable to join.
To help ease the burden on students struggling to get involved during the pandemic, HornsLink should reach out to clubs and flag those that are inactive due to COVID-19. A student would then be able to filter through the clubs that are currently inactive, saving them the disappointment of finding a club they are interested in but are unable to join due to the pandemic.
Students could also save the information of inactive clubs and consider joining once the organization begins meeting again.
Earlier in the semester I tried to join a club I found on HornsLink, but after navigating through multiple links I was disappointed to discover the club was inactive. Presumably, they still wish to be on HornsLink to attract future members, but it was a frustrating experience.
Cheryl Le Gras, director of student activities at UT, questioned whether an inactive filter would actually help incoming students. Le Gras suggested students would merely forget about clubs flagged as inactive and move on.
“What do I do with (an inactive filter) as a first year student?” Le Gras said. “There are 1,000 plus clubs at UT, am I going to go onto another group or come back in a year?”
However, over the summer, neuroscience freshman Saee Risbud turned to HornsLink to find organizations that interested her. While she found one organization she was interested in, she didn’t actually apply to join until the spring semester.
“I did find one club I was interested in, and they require you to register through HornsLink,” Risbud said. “I don’t think I actually registered on HornsLink fall 2020. Then this semester I registered because I remembered.”
This illustrates that students would still be interested in joining organizations in future semesters. With a filter, organizations can still be displayed for potential members, while also allowing students looking for clubs to join this semester to easily separate those that are inactive.
During this time of social isolation, UT should do everything it can to connect students. Le Gras stated that they want to be helpful for students and are open to the idea of allowing clubs to indicate their activity status on HornsLink.
Creating a filter for clubs that are temporarily inactive on HornsLink is a feasible goal and would be helpful to students.
Purchatzke is a biochemistry freshman from Boerne, Texas.