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Student orgs will have more opportunities to meet in person this semester

Although Miami University has mandated masks to be worn indoors on campus, student organizations will have more opportunities to meet in person this semester. 

Armstrong Student Center (ASC), an on-campus hub for many student organizations, will continue to mandate masks within the building unless actively eating or drinking. Katie Wilson, director of ASC says they have, however, dropped the occupancy limits inside student org offices. 

Wilson also said the staff urges student orgs to maintain social distancing as much as possible. 

“We're encouraging people to do room setups that would allow for a little more distance and to spread out a little bit,” Wilson said. “If that means using a larger space, that may be exactly what you need.” 

The same rules apply to fraternities and sororities, said Kimberly Vance, director of Student Activities and Fraternity and Sorority Life. Members will still be required to wear masks indoors on campus, including in sisterhood and chapter suites. 

Vance said the main questions she’s heard from Greek affiliated students are about the potential return of the 10-person limit on social gatherings instituted by Oxford City Council last year. The mandate allowed for no more than 10 people to be in an enclosed space at one time, which made it difficult for these students to conduct in-person activities. 

Although Vance said she doubts the mass gathering ban will be reinstated, her office will continue to follow the guidance of state and federal officials. 

“I am not in charge of Oxford City Council,” Vance said. “I don't know what might be coming down the pipe, but as of right now we're following CDC guidance and [guidance from the] state of Ohio Department of Public Health.”

Associated Student Government’s (ASG) Secretary for On-Campus Affairs Becca Pallant said she’s happy to be able to meet in person while also having the mask mandate. 

“I think it really is the safest way to protect our unvaccinated students, and our at-risk students, the most,” Pallant said. 

In addition to ASG, Pallant is also the president of the National Residence Hall Honorary. After a year of virtual connection in both orgs, Pallant said she is looking for ways to overcome the “awkwardness” being in person could bring. 

“I know we're struggling with coming up with ideas because our org members haven't seen each other in over a year in person, and that's kind of awkward. Like you don't see somebody for a year, but you have on Zoom, so it's just a weird experience to go back to in person, but I think it'll be really good for students.” 

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