By Ashley Murawski
We all know COVID-19 has caused major effects on campus jobs, yet how is Campus Activities continuing during these challenging times? When we think of events we generally think in-person activities, yet during these times we are not able to host in-person events. As a part of the Campus Activities staff we have all started to be creative by designing virtual events for CWU students to enjoy, but from the comfort of their own home.
Campus Activities is working hard to put on events for students by using platforms like Zoom, Netflix Party and other platforms. Changing to be all virtual is a whole different feel. Now we communicate from home and plan all our events from home. At first, changing to be all virtual was a shock. Avery Cortinas, Student Event Coordinator says, “My first reaction to switching online was ‘How are we going to do any events?’ Since we had never done an exclusively online event, I didn’t know how to plan it.” This is a major shift for our staff, but we took that learning curve and strive to create fun events for the students.
Hosting virtual events has come with its own challenges the team has had to figure out. The biggest issue we had at first was Zoom bombing, which is when people join the event for the wrong reasons. Student Event Coordinator, Ronnie Hindman talked about his experience with the problem, “We’ve had a couple of people (not CWU students) come and try to ruin the event since it’s online and easy to do so. Thankfully, we’re able to deal with the problems and make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Campus Activities quickly learned the security measures to take so we can continue with creating and hosting fun events for the students.
Fellow Student Event Coordinator, Hunter Pohl spoke on how Monday Movie Madness shifted with the effect of moving to virtual “Monday Movie Madness in person was smelling popcorn as people walked up and now it’s me popping my own popcorn then walking to my computer.” Being virtual there isn’t that same personal connection of watching a movie together, but we attempt to create that aspect through a virtual chat room while streaming a movie each week.
This shift to planning events virtually has been an exciting challenge for our staff. Student Event Coordinator, Katie Doonan says, “Personally, I have enjoyed the challenge of creating virtual events and finding new games, concerts, and trivia that can be done while being at home. … It has definitely been a challenge not being face-to-face with other people, but virtual events have been a way to stay connected with other students in a fun and innovative way!” Campus Activities has been adjusting and we have enjoyed taking on this new work life.
As event coordinators our main goal is to have students come and enjoy the events we put on each week. Alisa Muench, Student Event Coordinator says, “Our staff wants to reach as many students as possible for our events but doing so just isn’t very easy.” Gaining attendance is something Campus Activities tries to improve each week by publicizing the events more through social media to gain more attention.
The staff has faced this learning curve together. Libby Williams, Student Event Coordinator says running virtual events has “Been an interesting challenge, but knowing the rest of the staff is in the same boat is helpful because we’re all trying to execute something smoothly and it’s a learning process for all of us.” Communicating with one another has been essential for us to know who is planning what and providing support to one another. To stay in the know we attend weekly Zoom meetings with the whole team, so we know which events are coming up and if anyone needs assistance that week.
Overall, this shift of learning how to plan virtual events has been an interesting challenge, but our team has excelled and continues to put on fun events for CWU students. As a team, we miss hosting our larger-scale events for the students in person and we cannot wait for the day we can go back to the office. But, for the time being we hope students continue to support our team each week and check out our virtual events! You can find them on any of our CWU Campus Activities social media pages.