Courtesy of Blue Key Society
Clubs on campus have seen drastic alterations, and the way things are “normally” done have been completely altered this fall semester. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, social distancing, mask-wearing and other new changes have affected the way clubs operate. The Blue Key Society, a group of students on campus that work in conjunction with Admissions to give university tours to prospective students, has made a number of different changes to best adapt to the new circumstances while trying to function as close to normal as possible.
On Wednesday, Sept. 17, the Blue Key Society began its first official day of tours in-person. However, compared to the way tours operated in the past, things have changed considerably. Tours now take place exclusively outside, with no tour groups entering any building on campus. Tour guides and families must wear masks during the tour, and groups are limited to two total families and the tour guide. Lastly, prospective students visiting has been limited to senior-year students that are interested in applying to the University, with the total number of visitors per tour block capped at 40.
“We have worked closely alongside Admissions and university administration to develop a tour plan that maximizes safety while still providing a visitor experience,” Tour Coordinator Austin Glass said. “In terms of the tour plan itself, we have temperature checks, mask guidelines, visitor limitations per tour group and data that is prepared for contact-tracing, if necessary. We have also redesigned the tour route to ensure no visitors enter buildings.”
However, for students that may not feel comfortable giving in-person tours, Blue Key Society is also operating in a virtual capacity, giving families that may not feel comfortable being on campus or students that are not in their senior year the opportunity to learn more about Villanova. Furthermore, the Society has been producing more virtual content and is planning on doing Instagram Live tours of places on campus through the organization’s Instagram account.
“In addition to the in-person tour plans, we have developed better technology solutions to better simulate the visit experience,” Glass said. “Some examples of this include an updated visitor app, where families can see the interior of buildings and learn more about academic offerings, as well as a more robust online presence through our official Admissions events and our social media pages.”
The pandemic and COVID-19 restrictions have not only affected how Blue Key holds tours but has also changed how the organization meets and functions as a cohesive group. At this time, Blue Key’s weekly meetings are held entirely on Zoom. Furthermore, Blue Key has begun its recruitment of potential new members for the academic year through Zoom as well. Thus, although radically different from how the organization has operated in the past, Blue Key has still held its meetings and recruitment interviews as it normally would have.
“Our decision to continue with the recruitment process was motivated by our desire to gain new members that are passionate about Villanova and want to share their passion with prospective students and families,” Glass said. “Additionally, Blue Key Society’s mission to provide the best and most authentic experience for prospective students and families is unchanged by the current situation, so we must continue bringing in new members that share that mission.”
Although organizational operations and the day-to-day of Blue Key Society have been changed radically since students arrived on campus, the organization is doing its best to make successful changes to its operations to ensure prospective students and their families receive the information they need about the University.