In the Loop
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Members of the Columbia University Wind Ensemble rehearse a piece of music ahead of this weekend’s Columbia Festival of Winds, an all-day music festival that will feature bands from Princeton and NYU, with all proceeds benefiting a music outreach program.

This semester, teachers aren’t the only ones struggling to interact and engage with students over Zoom. Clubs throughout all four undergraduate schools now face the challenge of recruiting and hosting events virtually.

Spectrum checked in with some athletic and performing arts clubs that usually rely on face-to-face meetings to understand how they are adapting to the challenges of training and performing virtually.

Performing Arts

CU Wind Ensemble, which has performed at Carnegie Hall and hosts a number of concerts on campus throughout the year, will practice and hold auditions remotely this semester.

Auditions will look a little different this year. The club expects interested students to submit video submissions of scales and excerpts that showcase their lyrical and technical skills on their instrument(s) of choice. Submissions close at the end of the month.

In terms of concerts, it expects to record a virtual performance at the end of November, where members will record their individual parts so that the club can edit them into an ensemble, which can be premiered to the community. Instead of rehearsing every Monday like they used to do, students will practice on their own and check in with the club on a monthly basis.

The club will also be hosting various workshops like alumni panels and composer meet-and-greets, as well as social events to get to know the members beyond their performing duties.

Third Wheel Improv, a coed improv comedy group that usually performs on and off campus, is focusing on promoting Rehearsal Squad, its weekly open-rehearsal, to eventually find regular attendees to perform with the group later in the year.

It also plans on performing live-streamed shows every month on Zoom and/or Youtube for students who want to tune into a virtual comedy break.

Many other performing arts clubs, including theater groups, dance groups, and music ensemble, are already holding virtual auditions. However, many of them, like Orchesis—an all-level inclusive dance club—still hold workshops and workout classes via Zoom, which are open to anyone interested.


CU Cycling Team usually rides together throughout the year and competes in bike races organized by the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference every spring. However, due to the University administration’s restrictions on official gatherings and activities, it won’t have any official meetings until the measures are lifted.

The club still plans on holding virtual training programs for its members once they can hire a coach and hosting group rides together using Zswift, a software in the cycling world that allows riders to share at-home rides and data like heart rate, power, and cadence. This way, members can track each other’s performance and ride together in a virtual world to maintain some sense of community and solidarity throughout their training.

Columbia Women’s Water Polo Club which usually holds practice three nights a week, will be holding Zoom practices every Sunday to do online workouts and create a space for the team to stay connected and grow.

Just like the Cycling Team and the Women’s Water Polo Club, athletic clubs plan on hosting virtual training and workout sessions open to anyone who’s interested. Many of them, like Columbia Wushu and Columbia Women’s Rugby, are also open to people of all levels.

We recommend following any club that you’re interested in on Facebook or joining its mailing list to stay on top of any events it might be hosting throughout the semester.

For more information about clubs, attend the Columbia Activities Fair, which is coming up soon, to meet with members and ask any questions you might have.

Staff writer Lina Bennani Karim can be contacted at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

Columbia Barnard Remote Online Clubs Recruitment Performing Arts Athletics Zoom
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