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Northwest Advocates for Animal Awareness held a game night on Nov. 10 as a way to celebrate its accomplishments amid COVID-19. 

NWAAA’s mission as an organization is to advocate for animals in the local communities and spread awareness about issues concerning animals. Among other efforts, the organization partners with the New Nodaway Humane Society as much as possible to help spread the word about animals in their shelter and fundraise for them when possible.

Ordinarily, NWAAA would take a trip somewhere that relates to animals at this point in the semester. In the past they have gone to places like the Kansas City Zoo, the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Shatto Dairy Farm in Osborn, Missouri. However, due to COVID-19, Makayla Manna, president of NWAAA, said the group believed a game night would be the better and safer option. 

“With COVID and the stress of classes, our end of the year celebration was a nice break from the stress,” said Deja Thomas, the vice president of NWAAA.

About 25 members showed up to play multiple board games Nov. 10, as well as table tennis and Mario Kart on the Wii at Northwest's Station Center Room. Some members even began to play the recently popular game "Among Us." There was laughter almost all night, but when it came to Mario Kart, things seemed to just get a little more competitive for everyone.

Aside from the games, though, members also discussed highlights of the organization's awareness efforts, like the benefits of being involved in their trap and neuter program. The program safely and humanely captures feral cats to spay or neuter them and returns the cats where they came from if possible. 

 “NWAAA has been able to minimize the feral cat population on campus from many, many cats, down to about six cats,” Manna said.

NWAAA members said they do this in hopes of controlling the feral cat population in the community.

“Our members help us so much with trapping, cleaning the trail and feeding the cats,” Manna said.  

With final exams approaching for Northwest students, the NWAAA said they wanted to have a final celebration of everything they have done this semester and give members another chance to make friends in the organization. 

Though NWAAA doesn’t have a complete plan for what next semester might hold, especially with COVID-19’s impact on the University. Manna said they hope to bring in a speaker or two to educate their members on a variety of topics 

This semester, NWAAA had a fundraiser with photo opportunities with a shelter dog near the Memorial Bell Tower. Thomas said they might do something similar in the spring — a Valentine’s Day kissing booth with a shelter dog. 

“It feels great to be part of an organization that is making a difference not only on campus but with the community as well,” Thomas said.

Manna said she is proud of the work NWAAA does.

“Being president of the organization is really fulfilling knowing our organization is making a positive impact on campus and to the community,” Manna said.

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