Camp Changes: SMU, UT Dallas, Texas A&M Reveal Summer Programs

The pandemic-induced upheaval drastically changed how campuses look from June to August

While federal and statewide plans for distributing three vaccines might mean an eventual return to normalcy, face-to-face college programs for summer 2021 are still tentative.

After all, most 2020 summer programs were either canceled or adapted to an online format. 

For 2021, three Texas universities – UT Dallas, SMU, and Texas A&M University – shared plans for their summer camps.

UT Dallas Chess Camps. (Courtesy photo)

UT Dallas

Officials are still deciding whether the university will host any in-person summer camps, said UT Dallas director of programs for minors Carla Garner. If in-person camps are deemed safe, some programs will offer a hybrid format with both in-person and virtual opportunities.

Notably, debate, chess, and computer science camps will definitely be virtual, Garner confirmed.

Last year, all summer camps were held virtually using UT Dallas-approved platforms, like Blackboard Collaborate or Teams, said Garner.

“Camp directors received positive feedback about the virtual environment for the debate, coding, STEM, and biological sciences camps,” Garner said.

Summer campers enjoy an SMU engineering design experience. (PHOTO: Courtesy Caruth Institute for Engineering Education)

You can keep up with summer programs at UT Dallas on its News Center website. There, you can also see programs offered in the past, said media manager Brittany Hoover Magelssen.


SMU has not yet decided if camps will be virtual or in-person, said  Nancy George, the associate director of media relations.

SMU’s popular programs, such as its four engineering camps and three college-prep camps, will be offered either virtually or in-person, she said.

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M Veterinary Enrichment Camp (Courtesy photo)

In the summer and winter of 2020, all in-person programs and camps were canceled or virtual, said Cynthia Olvera, assistant director of university youth programs.

Texas A&M officials have published a Roadmap to Reopening, which contains plans to guide safe reopening practices. In-person summer programs may proceed with planning for events that occur after May 10, according to the Roadmap. All approved in-person youth programs must be in groups of 10 or less, and no fees can be charged to participants before April 1.

“We are approaching the reopening with cautious optimism by using Nonpharmaceutical Interventions and cohort systems to meet our risk responsibilities,” Olvera said. “[Texas A&M] offers a multitude of high-quality academic youth programs, athletic youth programs, mentorship programs, and more.”

2021 Options:

UT Dallas Debate Camp –

UT Dallas Chess Camp –

UT Dallas Computer Science Camp –

SMU Engineering Summer Camp Offerings –

SMU College Prep –

Texas A&M Galveston Sea Camps –

Texas A&M TAMU Athletics Department Sports Camp –

Texas A&M Veterinary Enrichment Camp –

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