USG Holds “Keating Steps” Amidst the Pandemic

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Sláinte was one of the dance groups that performed at Keating Steps. (Courtesy of Sláinte Instagram)

Grace McLaughlin, Contributing Writer

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, the United Student Government (USG) held its annual event showcasing b-Sides, Flava, Hot Notes, Sláinte and the Jeté’s on Keating Steps. Due to the weather and the COVID-19 pandemic, the event looked different than it has in previous years. 

This year’s performance lineup looked similar to years past, but planning Keating Steps and making it both safe and accessible to as many students as possible was a challenge, said Elizabeth Vernon, GSB ’22, vice president of Student Life for USG and organizer of the events. 

“The event is typically attended by 400 students, and given the number of students allowed at an event on Eddie’s right now, we had to cap the event at 50 tickets,” said Vernon.  

The coronavirus was the main concern, but was not the only issue that was taken into account, said Vernon. On Wednesday morning, the weather forecast showed rain for that evening when the event was supposed to take place. It was then moved into McGinley Ballroom.

“[USG] worked with a lot of different departments to ensure the safety and execution of the event regardless of the location. Public Safety, the Office of Student Involvement and Dining were all immensely helpful,” said Vernon. 

 The front of the ballroom was used as the stage and the audience sat in socially distanced chairs in the rest of the room and the space outside. A Zoom link on USG’s Instagram page gave students who didn’t get tickets an opportunity to view the performance on livestream. Each group performed around 10-15 minute sets for the in-person audience and those watching from Zoom. 

“I really enjoyed watching, and it was great to be able to go in person safely,” said Julie Connelly, FCRH ’23, who attended the event in person. “Because there weren’t as many people and it was indoors, it felt more personal.” 

Laura Kelly, FCRH ’23, a member of the b-Sides said the acapella group sang Unwritten by Natasha Beddingfield and Canyon Moon by Harry Styles. She said the performance was more casual because of the limited audience, but it was still a good opportunity to show people what they have been working on. 

“I was really grateful to still be able to perform for a live audience considering the given circumstances,” said Kelly. “It wasn’t the same not being on the actual Keating steps, but what matters most is that we got to perform together again, and it was the freshmen’s first performance with us. We have been bonding a lot during in person rehearsals and were able to have so much fun at Keating Steps.” 

Elizabeth Hartnett, FCRH ’22, attended Keating Steps and said she was happy to see that people still came out to support the performing groups on campus. 

“Keating Steps was definitely very different this year, but all the groups who performed were still incredible, and I specifically loved the b-Sides and Hot Notes singing with their masks on,” she said.