Chi Alpha no longer a Winona State University club

Chi+Alpha+now+meets+in+their+building%2C+Chi+Alpha+Student+Center%2C+across+the+street+from+campus%2C+located+at+402+Main+St.+Winona+Minn.+In+a+recent+move%2C+Chi+Alpha+decided+to+no+longer+be+a+club+at+Winona+State%2C+%E2%80%98effective+immediately.%E2%80%99

Mohammed Islam

Chi Alpha now meets in their building, Chi Alpha Student Center, across the street from campus, located at 402 Main St. Winona Minn. In a recent move, Chi Alpha decided to no longer be a club at Winona State, ‘effective immediately.’

Gabriel Hathaway, copy editor

Chi Alpha is a faith-based club that has been affiliated with Winona State University for close to 30 years. In a recent move, Chi Alpha decided to no longer be a club at Winona State, ‘effective immediately.’
Associate Director of Student Activities, Tracy Rahim, has been serving in the role since 2008. Rahim commented she was informed of Chi Alpha’s decision via a ‘one sentence email’ from Chi Alpha’s president on Aug. 27.
Rahim also said Chi Alpha’s decision was ‘unique.’
“In all the time that I have worked here doing this role, the clubs that have gone into what we call ‘inactive status’ is because they don’t have enough members,” Rahim said. “It’s definitely unique to have a group that is still going to be active in the community, but not affiliated with the university, but is mostly comprised of Winona State students.”
Steph Peterson, pastor at Chi Alpha, said the main reason for this change was because there was no space on campus big enough for them to meet.
“The room we have used since 2016 was not available because a class was scheduled in that space,” Peterson said. “We also want to put the ministry in the best place to serve the students. Right now that is by operating in this way [off campus].”
The room Peterson alluded to is Somsen Hall’s Harriet Johnson Auditorium. Rahim commented the decision to place a new class in the auditorium was likely made due to COVID-19 concerns.
Rahim said classes take precedence first and foremost.
“A lot of our clubs and organizations have to be flexible,” Rahim said. “I know [Chi Alpha] have certainly enjoyed being able to be in there [Harriet Johnson Auditorium] Thursday evenings, but sometimes that is not possible or feasible depending on the needs of the university.”

Chi Alpha now meets in their building, Chi Alpha Student Center, across the street from campus, located at 402 Main St.
Chi Alpha now falls under the definition of ‘community organization’ according to Rahim. As a community organization, Chi Alpha loses out on the benefits of being a Winona State club.
“Clubs have access to using facilities for free, eligibility to request for club funding, staff resources and being able to say ‘you are part of Winona State University,’” Rahim said. “Not all universities allow clubs or organizations on their campuses to say they are ‘THE WSU chemistry club.’”
Chi Alpha will also no longer be able to use Winona State’s likeness in any branding or promotion, according to Rahim.
“If they are not affiliated with “Winona State, they can’t use WSU” or its likenesses because it’s trademarked,” Rahim said. “And again, if they [Chi Alpha] came back as a club they’d be back into their element. We don’t restrict clubs from saying they are from Winona State, or Winona State’s X-Y-Z club.”

Chi Alpha now falls under the definition of ‘community organization’ according to Tracy Rahim, the Associate Director of Student Activities. Chi Alpha now loses out on the benefits of being a Winona State club. (Mohammed Islam)

Also as a community organization, Chi Alpha does not have to follow the same rules as Winona State clubs. Rahim went over the rules for Winona State clubs and organizations.
“Clubs have to follow the masking policy, and we certainly encourage social distancing as much as possible,” Rahim said. “If they [clubs] are doing any sort of events or activities, there is a student event and activity registration form that they have to fill out and get approved.”
Peterson says Chi Alpha is open to returning to Winona State, it just depends on how best they can serve the student population.
“Ultimately the decision [to reapply for Winona State club status] will come down to ‘How can we BEST serve the WSU students’ social, spiritual, emotional and physical needs?’” Peterson said. “Right now we are super happy about where we are. It’s very exciting and the students are loving it.”