The beginning of this school year is a stressful one for students and faculty who are adjusting to virtual teaching methods. Many students were looking forward to an on-campus experience. With classes pivoting online, how can they stay involved?
One of the most common ways to meet people at college is through joining clubs or organizations. Without an in-person environment, it can be hard to take the first step in that direction.
Despite operating online, many people across campus are working hard to make sure students have the opportunity to get involved in a COVID-friendly environment.
Claudia Bereshnyi, assistant director of undergraduate enrollment at the Fox School of Business, stresses the importance of students getting out of their comfort zone.
“I’m a big proponent of students reaching out,” explains Bereshnyi. “Because the screen sometimes makes people seem less real. We’re trying to make ourselves feel a little bit more real this year so students aren’t afraid to ask questions.”
For example, Bereshnyi will begin hosting “Fox Transfer Thursdays” to support transfer students. She is also asking leaders of Fox’s Student Professional Organizations (SPO) to emphasize connecting with new members.
Nasir Mack, senior in Business Management, Media Studies and Production, is one of the SPO leaders committed to a welcoming, inclusive approach this year.
“I position myself as open. So I’ll check up on students, ask how they’re doing, because that is just me being an authentic leader and how I am as a person,” explains Mack. “And taking on a leadership role this semester is saying, how can we make this more engaging? How can we maximize the online experience?”
Mack is the current president of Fox for Balance, an SPO dedicated to helping business students find a healthy school-life balance. This year, Fox for Balance will be hosting a weekly workshop series ranging from yoga, making vision boards, guest speakers and even an occasional cooking class from Mack himself.
This is just one of dozens of SPOs and clubs around campus still fully operating and hosting events this semester. The easiest way to get involved through the Fox School is to start with the SPO page, where business students can peruse through several different organizations or get in contact with those running them.
For interests outside the business world, Owl Connect provides the same outlet, encompassing clubs from every part of the university. Whether a student is studying Spanish and wants to join the El Club de Español or is looking to harmonize in Pitch, Please, an LGBTQIA+ advocacy a cappella group, Owl Connect can help anyone find their crowd.
When operating in an entirely online environment, Mack believes there are two key things for students this year to keep in mind.
“Adaptability and communication. Those are the skills that we’re going to have to really master in order for us to be successful during this pandemic,” explains Mack. “Students should master those skills, find the organization that tailors their interests and really go above and beyond to make the most of the experience. That’s the best way possible for their success.”
While this year may look entirely different for students and faculty alike, there is still a way for everyone to connect—whether it be via Zoom yoga or a virtual student organization fair. It certainly isn’t traditional, but connecting through online activities could be the key to students finding their crowd in an online environment.
Five tips to find your crowd in a virtual world
- Find people with common interests. Check out the Fox SPO webpage or Temple’s Owl Connect to see what organizations are focused on things you like.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out. Email, DM or pick up the phone (!!) to make connections with real people.
- Try a little bit of everything. Many organizations around campus are creating opportunities for students to connect. Sign up for a workshop, class or networking event.
- Be ready to adapt. Who knows what will happen next? Remain flexible in the face of challenging circumstances.
- Stay optimistic. Start with a positive outlook and you will be more open to making deeper connections with others.