Criminal Justice Club adapts to pandemic changes

COVID-19  has been the talk of most social media outlets, so it is no surprise it is relevant to the setbacks of the Waynesburg University Criminal Justice Club. It has limited lives severely, not only going grocery shopping or social lives but also networking and making connections in careers. Nothing is the same.

The Criminal Justice Club has had a significant setback while following the CDC guidelines. Although their membership numbers are equivalent to previous years, the club, like many on campus, worry they won’t be able to host as many activities this year.

“As of right now activity-wise, we don’t have anything on the schedule. Normally, we do the Haunted House, we normally participate in Harvest Fest [and] Jacket Fest. Right now, events and activities are kind of on hold,” Holly Ludvigsen, Criminal Justice Club officer said. “We want to look into some virtual stuff. If things open up again we’ll definitely get back into our normal swing of things.”

The Criminal Justice annual Haunted House typically draws participation from members of the Waynesburg community.

“In the past, we have given the proceeds to the officers involved with the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, and last year we gave the proceeds to the law enforcement memorial fund. But this year, we can’t really do that because we have to follow the guidelines with COVID,” Claire Wherthey, another club officer, said. “We don’t have anything to take its place just yet, but we are definitely going to try to do what we can.” 

As far as speakers go, the club has scheduled virtual visits. Some speakers they typically host are the Ocean City Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Pittsburgh Police and the Waynesburg Police.

“We’re really focused on being adaptive and making the best out of things through this awful situation. Obviously, it’s not ideal. We can’t meet in person or do our events, but there are still ways you can network,” Ludvigsen said. “Honestly, we might have more options for networking more than ever because anyone from anywhere in the country, we can have them as a virtual speaker and you can meet them and make that connection and learn about their career field.” 

Another change within the Criminal Justice Club is the removal of their rule of attending all meetings, events and speakers’ visits. In recent years, members would be required to attend 50% of all meetings, events and speakers to be considered for an officer position. 

Waynesburg University is taking every precaution to stay open for its hard working and eager learning students. 

“There’s definitely new changes in the club, and in the world right now but we are going to get through it and we are always stronger together,” Wherthey said. “So, in this time of struggle, in this pandemic we need to come together and be hopeful for our future. We are definitely not going anywhere.”