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COVID Activities: Karaoke, Pancakes, and A Cappella

Joe talks about a couple programs, events, and activities that persisted during a pandemic year at Carleton.

Joe talks about a couple programs, events, and activities that persisted during a pandemic year at Carleton.

In the fall of 2020, Carleton made the decision to open up campus to any students who wanted to study in-person on campus. Although I knew a pandemic year would be vastly different from the 2 in-person terms I had experienced, I also knew I wanted to go back. I eagerly took up the opportunity to return as a student and a first-time Resident Assistant (RA), and arrived on the 4th floor of Myers Hall in early September. 

One adjustment to this year was figuring out how to socialize and have a “college experience” while still adhering to pandemic guidelines. This was especially important as an RA. I had to balance community building on my floor with safety and limitations of space, resources, and energy. Outside of this role, I also wanted to have a good time as a student, so I kept my eyes peeled for any events. Luckily, Carleton was able to keep things going, and I attended and organized events throughout the year. Here are some of my highlights!

pretty sky myers looking at goodhue
Pandemic or not, Carleton’s campus STAYS beautiful!

SAO: Karaoke and Laser Tag

The Student Activities Office, or SAO, was working nonstop to create programs for students during the pandemic. One fall term highlight was virtual karaoke. Multiple times during the term, student workers on the Student Activities Programming Board (SAPB) would hop on Zoom for a couple hours and cue up karaoke songs for anyone to jump in and sing. One of my friends worked on the SAPB and a couple of us joined the call to support her and sing our hearts out. Frankly, I apologize to my entire floor for that night—I remember singing “Mamma Mia” very loudly in the middle of the lounge with my friend facepalming next to me. Even with the virtual format, it was an absolute blast. 

A fun karaoke night! Typically karaoke takes place at the Cave, but the virtual format was still a blast 🙂

Another activity SAO hosted was laser tag at the end of winter term. My friends and I formed a team of 4 and traipsed over to Cowling Gymnasium, where we took on a team of seniors in a battle for glory (bragging rights). SAO had set up inflatable obstacles around the gymnasium, and for 10 minutes we were sprinting around, attempting to get as many points as possible. At the end of the round, when we went to turn in our equipment, we saw that our team had won a decisive victory. It did feel glorious, although I was out of breath for the next week. This event was totally masked and totally fun, and I will absolutely be participating in upcoming years to uphold the legacy. 

Midnight Pancake Party

As an RA, I hosted many floor-specific programs with my lovely co-RA. Initially, we had to brainstorm how to increase attendance and engagement, but we quickly discovered an answer to this question: food. Our most popular event was the midnight pancake party, where we cooked pancakes from 9:30pm to 11:30pm and told our residents to pick them up in the lounge. We invited our friends, club members, fellow RAs—even people we had met maybe twice in the dining halls or Sayles café. This was an unequivocal success, and allowed us to socialize and eat in a safe manner. People were cycling in and out of the lounge, we adhered to the occupancy limit, and social distancing was implemented the whole time. All this, while eating pancakes at midnight! Frankly, there isn’t much more you could ask for. 

me and co ra
My co-RA and I hard at work baking for 4th Myers 🥰

Combined A Cappella/Choir Concert

To round off the school year, my a cappella group Exit 69, alongside 4 others, were invited to join the Carleton Choir in an outdoor spring concert. My group had been rehearsing all year, so we picked 5 songs we were especially proud of and worked to sharpen them throughout our final term. The concert ended up having a 200-person audience on Bell Field, all masked and socially distanced. I was beyond grateful to participate in this concert and get the chance to showcase songs my group had been preparing for months. You can watch the concert here and read more about a cappella here!

exit 69 on a sign
Some members of Exit 69 standing on a sign. Check out our YouTube and audition for us!

Reflections on Pandemic Activities

The name of the game this year was adapting to our circumstances. How would Carleton as an institution as well as the student body community come together to ensure we could have fun in a safe manner? We recognize the importance of socializing in mental health; Carleton’s status as a residential college speaks to the value of the community and events which take place on campus. I am so grateful for the opportunity to engage with campus life during the year, be it through activism, clubs, or concerts. Given all the restrictions and the toll the pandemic has taken on everyone’s physical, mental, and emotional health, I was so privileged and appreciative to have spent this academic year on campus with so many activities and opportunities.

Joe is a rising junior at Carleton from Chicago, IL. They plan on majoring in either Sociology/Anthropology or Computer Science, and enjoys studying public healthSpanish, and gender and sexuality. Outside of class, Joe is an RA on campus, and you can find them singing in Exit 69 A Cappella, doing makeup in their room, or drinking excessive amounts of coffee in Sayles. Meet the other Bloggers!