CAB brings in-person fun back to campus

Katie Fata

Photo: Levi Briggs, Staff Photographer

As the semester kicks into high gear, so does the work of IWU’s Campus Activity Board, which is more commonly known on campus as CAB. CAB, like many other groups on campus, had a year of virtual events during the 2020-21 academic year. When the majority of Titans returned this year, with different regulations than last year, CAB was able to bring well-loved events like Pizza Taste and Stuff N’ Plush back to campus in a new way. 

IWU announced on August 26 that regulations would be based on Illinois’ placement in the 4B phase outlined by the CDC. The 4B increased the size of indoor and outdoor event capacities to 60% of the venue capacity, as long as 6 feet distancing was maintained and masks were worn. The student leaders at the head of CAB kept this information in mind when designing this semester’s events. 

“A majority of our events had to be tweaked because of the varying capacity limits, so we would run a couple sessions of the same event,” CAB director and senior Wah Chook said. Stuff N’ Plush, which took place on September 29, was meant to happen across multiple sessions but was so popular during the first session that CAB had to cancel the second session when they ran out of supplies. 

CAB has classic events on campus that have been popular with Titans long enough to merit repeats, and these events, like Bingo and Pizza Taste, have had to be altered so that they are still able to take place. 

“Last year we had our first hybrid bingo event, where we used virtual bingo cards and winners were able to just pick prizes off of an Amazon wish list,” Chook said. 

While virtual events are easier to attend with students being able to attend from their dorm rooms, CAB’s attendant numbers were lower with their virtual events. Chook reported that 70-80 students attend virtual events on average while in-person events can bring in as many as 250 students. 

“Virtual events have provided us with lots of cool opportunities that would’ve been harder to achieve in-person. On the other hand, in-person events are more interactive and create an actual space where students can come and build community and there’s no zoom fatigue,” Chook said. 

CAB was able to bring bigger names to campus last year since they didn’t have to pay the usual list of fees to host speakers since they were only hosted online. CAB invited actor Josh Peck to a Zoom meeting, and also had popular drag queen Monique Heart host a “drag queen” version of CAB’s regular bingo event. 

Events like Pizza Taste, which allows students to try pizza from all over the Bloomington-Normal area for free, cannot be held virtually. So Chook and her team adjusted and learned that campus traditions can change for the better. 

“We’ve moved it to the Quad. In the past Pizza Taste has always occurred in Hansen, and we actually like it better out on the Quad,” Chook said. 

According to Chook, when they design events, CAB  follows the location capacity limits, social distancing and always requires masks for indoor and outdoor events.They also provide hand sanitizer at all their events to ensure people have a means to prevent spreading of germs. 

Chook had to do a lot of learning in the last year, as she made the transition from programming coordinator to director, and said that COVID-19 taught her to roll with the punches. 

“I tried my best to account for everything for a smooth event but last year was full of surprises so regardless I had to learn to adapt,” Chook said. 

CAB’s event schedule will continue to take place in-person as long as IWU’s regulations allow them. With 95 percent of students vaccinated and three weeks without a positive case, IWU has responded by allowing students full visitation within the residence halls, fraternity houses, and apartments by IWU students and family members. Visitors may also now visit rooms and common areas and remain masked as required in indoor spaces during the day. 

Upcoming CAB events include Pizza Taste on October 1, Fall Fest on October 23 and a Halloween relay on October 30. All events will be in-person as of September 30. 

“ I’ve also learned that a good event is more than just a headcount, it was awesome to see that CAB events can sometimes be places where individuals forget about the pandemic and just escape the craziness for a while,” Chook said.