Achieving Student Connections During a Global Pandemic

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I stepped into my role as director of student activities on February 5, 2020. As director, I advise the Student Activities Council (SAC), a group that plans many of the fun events that take place on campus. We had a fun lineup for the semester and couldn’t wait to start getting ready for our big spring concert: The Plain White T’s.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what happened next!

Within a month, I found myself canceling all events and waving goodbye to students on a coach bus taking them all home, not knowing when we would all be together again. I packed up my office and prepared to set up shop at my dining room table!

The first few Zoom meetings I had with students mostly consisted of all of us checking in on each other. We talked about how online classes were going, the challenge of doing homework with younger siblings around, and most of all—missing friends. Once we settled into this strange new normal, we started to discuss what events we could do virtually to connect with each other. Students needed connection now more than ever. This was our chance to be creative! We tried everything from virtual open mic nights, virtual bingo and trivia—and even a “yappy hour” where everyone introduced their pets! Some ideas worked, and some didn’t. But here is what was important: people continued to show up.

When I look back on this time, I think that is what I will remember most. Student organizations continued to work together and engage with others. We navigated elections, new member recruitment, and fundraisers—all over Zoom!

I’ve always known student organizations play such an important role in the college experience, but it was really apparent during 2020. Being a part of a student organization provides hands-on experience in leadership, event planning, project management, graphic designthe list goes on! But I think maybe most importantly, it’s a great way to connect with other students who share the same interests and passions as you, and provides a built-in community of friends and network of supporteven during a global pandemic.

Virtual paint party - students could follow along on Zoom.
Virtual Open Mic Night was held during Homecoming 2020.
A virtual concert featured artist, Connor Garvey, and he performed live via Zoom.

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  • December 29 2021 at 5:15 am
    Brian Stauffer

    Great article, thank you.

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