Dasia Elswick

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — The Society of Illustrators, also known as SOILL, has returned to Winthrop University as a student organization and has seen an increase in membership and activity, after the group was inactive during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group organizes, assembles and educates “students that are interested in pursuing a career in the illustration field of visual communications and design and become more aware of the current state of the commercial arts,” according to the Winthrop website.

“We missed it for about a semester and then it started to pick back up and we had Zoom meetings instead. It was a little bit on a smaller scale and we did smaller activities,” Kaelen Bauer, president of SOILL, said.

Due to the pandemic, many Winthrop student clubs became inactive and were no longer officially affiliated with the university.

James Poston, vice president of SOILL, said the process to re-register as an official club, with the Office of Student Engagement and Diversity, has been time consuming.

“They (Student Engagement and Diversity) are, like most parts of Winthrop at the moment, understaffed and not really sure what to do with this huge influx of interest (in student clubs),” Poston said. “Its really grown and when COVID hit, I think they were part of the departments that suffered, as far as resources go.”

Despite the challenges, members say they’re excited the club is back and they’re hopeful for what the next chapter in the club’s history will bring.

“SOILL is a great place to learn about illustrators and meet some,” said Guy Gyillard, a member of the group.

The group is open to anyone who enjoys creating art and visual communication, so students don’t have to be an illustration major to join.