COVID-19 put a halt to in-person student events across the nation this semester, but the Student Association for Campus Activities (SACA) did not let the virus take away community spirit as they celebrated the wrap of another semester, through social media.
SACA hosted the second annual Gaillardia Fest virtually, Friday, May 1, to celebrate school spirit and inclusivity among students in the San Marcos community.
The organization aimed to make the most of circumstances brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic and followed through by turning the festival into a virtual student talent show via the Texas State Pride and Traditions Instagram page.
Brianna Mascorro, pride and traditions coordinator for SACA, said she and her partner Barbara Cavazos put a lot of work into planning the 2020 Gaillardia Fest. When unforeseen circumstances arrived, the two coordinators decided that featuring students was their biggest component for the virtual festival.
“When we were moving forward with virtual Gaillardia Fest, we agreed that the only component we could bring virtually would be spotlighting the talent we have here at Texas State,” Mascorro said. “That’s (the) main focus within this year compared to last year.”
Throughout April, SACA encouraged students to submit a video of a solo or group talent for a chance to be represented on the Instagram page. The organization said they wanted to showcase diversity and talent of all ranges.
On Friday afternoon, SACA selected four submissions and posted full-length videos to Instagram to spotlight the Bobcat talent winners.
Jada Jay, theater sophomore, made a second appearance at Gaillardia Fest after winning last year’s student talent competition at the festival. The singer-songwriter was featured on Instagram for her rendition of “Who’s Loving You” by The Jackson 5.
Jay said she was hesitant at first to enter the talent portion of Gaillardia Fest after it was changed to a virtual setting. She later realized the power social media can have on performers wanting to add to their following.
“Last year, I got to be in front of an audience, and, as a performer, it’s just so much more intimate,” Jay said. “With social media, you can network and you never know who else can see it.”
Jay said she wanted to honor Michael Jackson’s legacy, leave her legacy at Texas State and inspire others with her performance.
Jazmin Curley, a biology freshman, was featured at the virtual festival for her acoustic cover of Jereena Montemayor’s “Rose”.
“I always try to find ways to be active in the Texas State community and music has always been one of my biggest passions, so I just thought it was the perfect opportunity to engage in the community,” Curley said.
When her friend notified her that she was featured on the Instagram page, Curley said she was excited. She said she hopes to participate in the student talent portion at Gaillardia Fest 2021.
Mascorro said she and the SACA executive board were disappointed to cancel the in-person festival, but the team continued to work and prioritize students and inclusivity within the university community.
“We were obviously upset that the festival didn’t happen, unfortunately, due to circumstances out of our control, but moving Gaillardia Fest virtually was kind of gaining back some ownership in that and enhancing Bobcat pride,” Mascorro said. “Giving students that sense of community is something I’m very grateful for because Texas State gave that to me when I was first a student. Being able to give that back to students is something that I really hold closely.”
For more information about future SACA events and involvement at Texas State, visit https://www.lbjsc.txstate.edu/involvement/saca.