How student groups connect while campuses are closed

University of Kentucky offers a "Virtual Student Organization Management Guide"

Student organizations at many closed colleges and universities are finding creative ways to remain active and serve their campus communities during the coronavirus outbreak.

From campus radio to student government to prison education to fundraising, student leaders are shifting online to keep their missions alive.

The University of Kentucky’s educational radio station WRFL 88.1, has been broadcasting content, including up-to-date coronavirus information, 24 hours a day. Its managers have made contingency plans to stay on the air while the station has also remained in touch with local musicians to deliver new independent music to listeners.

Many university student organizations have used Zoom to hold elections, organize study sessions and host trivia nights.

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The university’s Office of Student Organizations and Activities has created a “Virtual Student Organization Management Guide” to help campus clubs remain active.

Student and staff volunteers with the University of Michigan’s Prison Creative Arts Project were barred from continuing their work in prisons in mid-March, The Michigan Daily reported.

The project’s planned exhibition has been moved from a campus space to an online preview. The organization has also raised more than $14,000 for a fund that helps formerly incarcerated cope with challenges related to the coronavirus.

At the University of Iowa, Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate and Professional Student Government leaders have been meeting virtually to provide emergency microgrants to students in need from the Student Emergency Fund, The Daily Iowan reported.

Fund are distributed on a case-by-case basis, with the average grant ranging from $50 to $35o, according to The Daily Iowan. 

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Members of the California State University Northridge chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers have been using social media and other platforms to encourage students to donate blood and handmade face masks, according to a university release.

“We’ve had a lot of members, people that weren’t as involved before even, come to me and ask to play a bigger role and get more involved,” says Pearce Ferriter, the group’s ASCE’s outreach coordinator.

Other university groups are holding virtual events. The university’s Pride Center, for example, has shifted its programming to Zoom, including its “Queer in Your Career” professional development event.

UB’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on higher ed.

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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