With the move to online learning for the remainder of the semester as a result of the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the virtual engagement initiatives aim to develop, launch and execute programming to engage with students and boost morale during this challenging time.
This plan is a collaborative effort amongst offices across campus; staff from the Office of Residence Life & Housing, Mission & Ministry, and the Office of Student Activities & Multicultural Programming (OSAMP) have been designated as “VE captains,” who will work together on programming. Dean of Students Jennifer Forry hopes this team will be able to provide students with a means of having an engaging student life experience despite being off campus.
"By offering virtual engagements for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester, Student Affairs hopes to stay connected with our students while providing a well-rounded student experience,” said Forry.
Programming on campus is a vital part of the Emmanuel experience – it provides a welcomed complement to classes, jobs and internships, as well as an opportunity for students to make memories and connect with their peers on campus. Many of these programs are longstanding Emmanuel traditions that students look forward to, such as the Clamless Bake, EC Dance Marathon and the Moonlight Breakfast that celebrates the end of the semester. For Kelli Connors, the associate director of the student center and campus activities, transforming these events into virtual programming is a top priority for this semester.
“Just because students are not coming to campus does not mean we will stop working to create community and making space for fun,” said Connors. “OSAMP, along with others in Student Affairs, is trying to harness the power of social media to promote online activities and share moments to brighten the days of our students. We are also committed to doing our best to create virtual experiences of traditions like Moonlight Breakfast and EC Dance Marathon.”
Students are embracing the idea of online programming and are not only participating, but getting involved with the planning process as they would while on campus. Cristina Palmieri ’20, the president of the Emmanuel College Programming Team (ECPT), has been eager to rework the student-run organization’s regularly scheduled events to an online format by utilizing social media and getting other students involved.
“The thing I love most about Emmanuel is how connected we are as a community,” said Palmieri. “I think virtual programming is a great way for us all to stay connected and have something good to look forward to during such uncertain times.”