Clubs make preparations for spring

As the in-person portion of the fall semester comes to an end, clubs and organizations are looking forward to the spring semester.

“We have had a lot of time to prep and think about opening,” said Samantha Gallagher, ’21, president of Grounds for Change.

Grounds for Change is a volunteer and student-run coffeehouse on campus. While they were interested in opening up this semester, they chose not to due to a lack of attention by administrators. Instead, those at GFC have spent the semester ensuring that they were ready to open in the spring.

“We were supposed to take some hints from Parkhurst throughout the semester, and we actually just submitted our plan to the (Allegheny College Health Agency) regarding what our plan is for opening,” Gallagher said.

The plan is to do a phased opening beginning with no seating at all and eventually expanding as the semester progresses and COVID-19 remains under control, according to Gallagher. These phases include only doing takeout options, then allowing seating with a quota on how many people can enter the space.

GFC is also planning to take volunteers, who, in past semesters, have signed up for an hour-long shift and get trained on how to run the operation.

“It’s still two folks on shift for one hour a piece,” Gallagher said, “of course all of the volunteers will be gloved.”

While GFC has sponsored a few events this semester, the goal is to come back, as safely as possible, next semester. “I think the idea of GFC is still solid,” Gallagher said.

The Student Alliance for Prison Reform is also gearing up for next semester. SAPR was founded in 2015 with the overarching goal of spreading awareness of injustice in the criminal justice system through discussion, events, education and awareness efforts.

“In the past few years we have been fortunate to do a lot of different things,” Nicholas Ripper, ’21, President of SAPR, said.

For the future, SAPR seeks to expand its membership and work to do what members are interested in.

“Criminal justice is a very, very broad topic with very deep implications,” Ripper said.

Ripper also sees flexibility of programming as something that attracted him to the club, and something that the club strives for.

In the past, SAPR has taken part in conferences and invited speakers with insight into the criminal justice system.

“In the past few years, we have been fortunate to do a lot of different things,” Ripper said, “we have also had the opportunity to bring speakers on campus, and they may be on any side of the criminal justice system.”

For those interested in getting more information about SAPR, they can email Ripper at [email protected] or they can follow SAPR’s instagram account, @sapr_allegheny.

One of Allegheny’s newer clubs, the Allegheny Bird Club, is also gearing up for next semester.

“I think if next semester is anything like this semester, we’ll be operating the same way,” said Josh Heiser, ’23, President of Bird club.

The Bird Club’s main purpose is to engage students about bird life and to foster connection with local birds. Throughout this semester, Bird Club has offered weekly local bird walks in which binoculars were provided and the walks were led by members who were knowledgeable in birding.

“I think we did a good job of being active and offering events,” Heiser said.

Relative to other clubs, Heiser feels that Bird Club was in a good position to be an active club and offer opportunities to connect with birds.

Next semester will consist of virtual meetings to talk about a variety of bird topics and local trips to see birds, according to Heiser.

Heiser also pointed out that while February and March may not have the variety of bird species that can be seen in the fall, there are a good number of permanent resident birds.

“Especially if you are a beginning bird watcher, you’ll see some of the standard stuff like woodpeckers, chickadees, or titmice,” Heiser said.

There is even the opportunity to do some owling, which is looking for owls, in February, Heiser said.

Heiser sees connecting with local birds as a low-barrier way to connect with the natural world.

“It is really easy to get involved in, but also a cool way to experience nature, and I just want to share that,” Heiser said.

If someone is interested in learning about the Bird Club they can contact Heiser at [email protected]. People can also reach out to the Bird Club’s official email, [email protected], and follow them on instagram @ac_birdclub.