What you need to know about events this semester

By Murphy Obershaw, A&e Editor

With COVID-19 having caused events to be altered, postponed or cancelled all year, people may be wondering what events are still going to be able to happen this semester. Here is the rundown on some typical spring semester events and how they will be affected by COVID-19.

Heritage Month

High Tea: Newman celebrates its heritage each year with a month full of activities, but this year, one of the biggest Heritage Month events, High Tea, will not be happening. Sister Charlotte Rohrbach said that people had some concerns about doing High Tea during a pandemic, plus they had to deal with other issues such as not being able to use the Dugan Gorges Conference Center.

“...We had planned to have it in the Macias Gathering Space...But we were just going to hand out stuff and that was it. Well, I thought, ‘This was supposed to be a social event.’ And then I thought, ‘You know what? We have to cancel it,’” Rohrbach said.

They are planning on having High Tea next year, but this year, they’ll send out videos about past High Tea celebrations instead.

The Medallion Hunt: This event, which usually involves finding a physical medallion somewhere on campus, is also virtual this year. The first clue was emailed out on Monday and the last one was emailed today. People have from noon today to noon Friday to email Rosemary Niedens the answer of where the virtual medallion is hidden.

Meet Newman Saints: This is a new contest that involves students writing a reflection about what they would say or ask St. Maria De Mattias and St. John Henry Newman if they were able to meet them. The contest starts today and ends at 5 p.m. on Feb. 22.

The person with the best response will receive $100, second best will receive $50, and third best will receive $25. Reflections can be emailed to There is no minimum word count, but the reflections should be less than 1,000 words.

Homecoming: There will still be a homecoming pep rally the night before the homecoming basketball games. But this year, the crowning for Homecoming King and Queen will happen during pep rally on Feb. 17 instead of at halftime of the men’s basketball game like it was in previous years.

“With our basketball games, they also have limited seating there, and so not all of our students may be able to attend that, and so we want to make sure that we provide a space where as many students who want to be a part of the homecoming royalty crowning ceremony can be there, can enjoy, and also have fun,” Director of Multicultural Engagement and Campus Life Joseph Shepard said.

There will also be games and a virtual component at the pep rally. Shepard said there may be a virtual party with a live DJ on Facebook, decorations that can be sent home to students, and shirts they can wear.

Shepard said there will probably not be an after party this year.


Spring show: The Music Department is still planning to have its spring show from April 22 to 24. Director of the Music Department Deanne Zogleman said in an email that the structure of the spring show will be similar to the fall show in terms of social distancing guidelines, masks, a smaller audience and possibly a streamable option.

Spring play: The theatre department is still planning on having its biannual Shakespeare play. The play this year is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and it will debut on March 11 and run through March 14.

Arts Fest: The annual Lit Fest is now Arts Fest. The name was changed because Lit Fest included various departments, such as art, communication, Spanish and theatre in addition to the English department. The new name illustrates the involvement of all the departments better than the old name, Associate Professor of English Susan Crane-Laracuente said.

Arts Fest runs all day on March 12. There will be no keynote speaker the night before like there has been in years past.

There will be Zoom links sent out for most of the presentations and panels. Crane said that they are still unsure if non-Newman community members will be able to attend the events in person due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Coelacanth: Newman’s literary magazine, Coelacanth, will not be released during Arts Fest this year, but it will be released some time in April. Coelacanth is accepting submissions of poetry, prose, and art created by undergraduates from any university from now until March 1. Submissions can be sent to


Jetspys: Director of Athletics Joanna Pryor said in an email that the athletic department is planning on hosting the Jetspys, but they are not sure yet how it will look.

“There will be some form of the Jetspys this year. It will all depend on country restrictions and the amount of people that can gather. We would all love to get together. If we can’t gather, we will make a virtual event that is fun for the student-athletes,” Pryor said in an email.

Academic Awards: No decisions have yet been made regarding the academic awards, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Rosemary Niedens said in an email.

The Marias: The fate of the annual theatre awards known as The Marias also has not yet been decided, Director of Theatre Mark Mannette said in an email.

Student Affairs

Spring Fling: There are no set details for Spring Fling, which was an outdoor event with music, food trucks, games and free T-shirts, but Student Affairs is looking at some possibilities of what to do that will stay in accordance with the COVID-19 guidelines.

“We know that for Spring Fling, it’s typically only a day long. Spring Fling this year may be an entire week. It may include some virtual events and some in-person events just to kind of spread it out and give our students the option to be involved and to be engaged at a level in which they feel most comfortable...And as always we’re going to do the food. We’re going to have the T-shirts. We’re going to do some cool games and some opportunities for students to walk away with some cool prizes as well,” Shepard said.Breakfast and Bingo: This event will probably not be happening this semester due to COVID-19, but Shepard said there will be some sort of large scale event in its place.

PHOTO: Leanne Vastbinder, Opinion and Online Editor