A Picnic in Pixels

Esme Galvan, Senior Writer

For the first time ever, the annual Texas A&M University-Commerce Presidential Picnic went completely virtual.

Following postponement of the picnic during Lion Roar Welcome week due to inclement weather, the picnic was held virtually through Zoom on Sept. 2. The event was hosted by leaders from the Campus Activities Board (CAB) and officers of the Student Government Association.

Dr. Mark Rudin, university president, participated along with Judy Sackfield, interim vice president. Students were invited to participate. Both hosts and students participated in a competitive Kahoot game with questions that consisted of A&M-Commerce trivia and East Texas State University history. The top three student winners each earned $100 in Lion Cash.

The night included a question and answer session through students sending questions via the Zoom chat log and the live conference that included information about Homecoming, Lions Roar numbers and Lion face masks.

Lion Roar Week attendance was a massive success with 900 in-person event attendees and 850 virtual event attendees, per CAB reports through Public Relations executive Christian Standifier. 

Like the virtual picnic, Homecoming 2020 will incorporate virtual events and in-person socially distanced events as well. Each in-person event will have its own guidelines and reserved attendance to assure the safety of attendees. Every event will be posted and shared through social media. 

If you are a student who is not an on-campus resident and do not yet have a Lion mask, you can ask for one at the front desk in the Rayburn Student Center. If it’s raining, students can also ask for a free rain poncho at the front desk as well. 

Students can also pick up a Lions neck gaiter in the president’s office at no charge on the second floor of the McDowell Administration Building. 

Students unable to come to campus to pick up a Lion mask may contact Judy Sackfield ([email protected]) for more information.

When asked what he was looking forward to this year, Dr. Rudin responded with anticipation regarding graduation—especially for the seniors;

 “What I’m really looking forward to is those students that will graduate in December or graduate next May and be able to be there on the podium when they walk across and get their diploma. Think about the stories that they are going to be able to tell to their kids and their grandkids about this pandemic of 2020 and how they stuck it out and gutted it out and got their college degree during one of the toughest times of our nation’s history. I can’t even imagine what kind of stories all our students that graduate are gonna tell. Again, the juniors, the sophomores and freshman, you get to tell the same story, too, of when you went to school during the pandemic. And it’s not easy. 

“And I can’t tell you how proud I am of our student body and our faculty and staff that show a great resiliency and a hard work ethic to get through this. I can’t wait to greet you guys across stage in December or May.”