The Student Activities Association Cinema has opened its doors again.
Earlier this month, the organization announced on Twitter its return and the schedule for the rest of the semester.
On March 23,2020, SAA Cinema had to close down in response to COVID-19. Now, with CDC regulations in place, SAA Cinema is ready to provide entertainment to students and the public.
SAA was able to host virtual events, such as Trivia Nights and a cooking class, during the pandemic. And later in the year, the organization started to hold in-person events, such as the campus-wide singing competition, The Voice, while keeping to CDC guidelines.
“Our main motivation was just to put on activities for the students,” Armando Gonzalez, SAA president and a senior accounting major from Fort Worth, said. “That’s our sole purpose and that’s what we want to put out there.”
As for how they will follow CDC guidelines, SAA volunteers will be wearing masks and gloves while also having hand sanitizer nearby. Food and drinks at the concession stand will be prepackaged, and chairs inside the theater will be roped off with an empty seat between each pair. The capacity for the theater is 150 people instead of its usual 300. After every showing, SAA will disinfect seats and any area that could have been touched by people, such as the railings and armrests.
“Because our main goal first and foremost is the students' safety and faculty safety, we want everyone to have a good time,” Ryan Greenwood, SAA graduate assistant from College Station said. “But if there are health risks that are being compromised, then we will be shutting it down.”
Providing affordable entertainment to students is a common goal within the organization, but it also is a way for SAA to fund their events.
“The movie program is a unique program for SAA because each movie requires a licensing fee, which often exceeds the revenue generated per showing,” Erica Nordlund, coordinator of student engagement- activities, said. “Organization leadership has found ways to find other revenue alternatives, such as theater advertisements and community tickets to minimize the financial impacts to the program and students.”
SAA hopes that students come out to enjoy a great selection of movies while escaping reality for a while.
“We're going to do everything we can to try and have a normal school year in the midst of this pandemic,” Greenwood said.
All that they ask in return is for students to follow CDC guidelines and to not attend if anyone is feeling symptomatic, to which students should take advantage of the on-campus COVID testing.
“We’re super excited to start seeing people come to the movies again and just enjoy a safe and socially distanced activity with a friend,” Gonzalez said.