JOEY GOETZ, GUEST TRUMPET WRITER
As the academic year begins anew, students are eager to discover what campus programming organization Entertainment ToKnight (ETK) has in store for a year filled with new openings and old COVID-19 restrictions.
“Above all, our mission was last year, and will continue to be, to create safe events for students,” said Rachel Green, third-year journalism and communication major and ETK president.
Last year, Green and the ETK team experienced what it was like to plan events amid a pandemic. This year, although some things are back to normal, the so-called “new normal” is still prevalent on campus. With a mask mandate in place until September 17, when the mandate will be reassessed by the college’s COVID-19 advisory board, student health was at the forefront of the minds of ETK’s executive team. In total, there are seven members of the ETK executive team.
“Coming into this year,” said Green, “obviously the pandemic is still ongoing, and we still want to create safe events for students and environments where students can feel safe in community, because that’s something we’ve all missed.”
Balancing safety and event planning is a tall order. Much like the ETK team, some Wartburg students are finding themselves concerned with the question of how exciting events can be planned and carried out during a pandemic.
“I’m glad that we’re being safe,” said first-year computer science major Sean Drewes, “but I want fun events and stuff to do, too.”
One of the easiest ways for ETK to handle COVID-19 protocols while planning campus events is to head outside. That is why most upcoming events will be on the campus lawn or surrounding areas. Students can still expect a plethora of events sprinkled throughout the year in true ETK fashion.
“For right now, we’re going to try to hold events outside as long as we can,” said Green. “For the fall, we have a couple more outside events. We have some different style of programming for the end of October that’s kind of flipping trick-or-treating on its head, and I’ll leave it at that. We will move inside once it gets cold.”
Students can experience one such outside event on September 14 when the ETK Carnival Knight will be held on the campus lawn, featuring an inflatable obstacle course, a cotton candy machine, and a dunk tank.
Reminiscent of last year’s ice cream truck, there will also be a cookie dough truck coming to campus on October 1.
In terms of indoor events, Green said that ETK has learned a lot from last year’s procedures and will adopt some in a more permanent fashion.
“Our bingo nights are something that a lot of students really enjoy,” said Green. “Last year, we moved [bingo] to Neumann Auditorium and did virtual bingo cards. People got a QR code or a link and got bingo cards there. No matter where the bingo happens, the virtual cards were so nice on all accounts. That’s one of the things we’re pivoting to for this year.”
She continued: “We’re still going to have indoor events with some of our classic ETK things like bingo, but we’re really excited to push the envelope a little bit on what students can see for programming at Wartburg.”
As ETK continues to feel out their second year during a pandemic with speculation surrounding what will become of masks and other regulations, student input is valued more than anything.
“If students have any feedback on events or anything they know they would like to see ETK try,” said Green, “they can go ahead and reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on any of our social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. We love to hear feedback on the events: how they loved them, what we can do to improve events, and what ideas they’d like to see on campus.”