The Gustavian Weekly

Christmas in Christ Chapel goes virtual: The realities of a hybrid semester on campus - The Gustavian Weekly

By Freya Nelson - Staff Writer | October 16, 2020 | News

As campus organizations work uphill to combat the obstacles of being semi-virtual, one of the college’s biggest events is to be online. Gustavus’ Christmas in Christ Chapel, an event that annually welcomes thousands of people to campus, will be recorded and streamed online.
Nonetheless, Director of the Marketing and Communication Office, Barb Larson Taylor is optimistic.
“The recording for C in CC will be happening on campus next week. The team from Heroic Productions will be on campus to manage the lighting, sounds, and videography. Each ensemble will be in Christ Chapel alone and will record all their pieces in one night. The ensembles will be practicing COVID safety measures such as wearing masks and being at 6 feet apart from each other. After everything is recorded on campus, the team at Heroic Productions will edit together the final service for broadcast,” Director of Institutional Events in Marketing and Communication, Barb Larson Taylor said.
The Marketing and Communication Office, along with many other campus organizations, have had to face obstacles in being virtual this semester. Gustavus, a college focused on emphasizing the importance of community, faces a difficult contradiction as social distancing guidelines significantly limit any and all in-person contact. However, Barb Larson Taylor is optimistic.
“We miss seeing each other in person and the community-building that goes along with being all together, however we generally are finding it works fine to continue to meet virtually and for some people to be remote,” Taylor shares.
“[C in CC] will be an extremely different experience for the performers, yet we are pleased that we are still able to provide this annual tradition,” Taylor said.
The Marketing and Communication Office is responsible for making many of the campus’ biggest annual events possible. Events such as the Nobel Conference, Christmas in Christ Chapel, and the St. Lucia festivals all fall under the responsibility of the Marketing and Communication office, amongst others within the Gustavus community.
In the wake of these events going virtual, the Marketing and Communication office has had to work hard in order to reimagine these events in an online setting. However, Taylor shares that the experiences of her office are not unique. As she comments on the obstacles of embracing the losses of normalcy to COVID, she also maintains a sense of gratefulness.
“We are pleased that all of these events will happen in a virtual format. Many of the challenges that our office is facing are not unique to our office. We feel a lot of loss. Like everyone else, we have had to shift the way we think about and do our work. It is exhausting to have a plan and have to keep changing the plan due to changes with COVID,” Taylor said.
“We have tapped into our creativity and adaptability to re-imagine our work. It has been amazingto see the commitment of the community to our students and the mission of the College,” Taylorsaid.
The Gustavus Community continues to fight for the maintenance of the college’s mission. As students and staff adapt to online involvements, socially distant sports practices, online courses, and an overall abnormal semester, the effort remains. Earlier this week the college successfully hosted a virtual Involvement Fair, which allowed students to engage with prospective extracurricular organizations via Zoom.
Gustavus Greek Life continues to utilize virtual and socially distant recruitments. Gustavus’ Queers and Allies Club successfully hosted a virtual Drag Show. Many other student-led, on-campus organizations are continuing to host online meetings and events, successfully, and adapt to the abnormality that has characterized this semester. Though not ideal, students and staff remain optimistic in the continuation of these efforts to maintain the integrity of the Gustavus Community, against all obstacles.

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