CBU clubs transition to virtual gatherings

Alex Iannone | Banner Zach Kessler, Junior, mechanical engineering major signs up for a chance to get a meal swipe to the Alumni Dining Commons provide by Community Life during the Fall 2019 club fair.

As a result of the recent transition to remote instruction, many of California Baptist University’s student clubs are resorting to new methods of building community. Since students can no longer gather together, club presidents and directors are utilizing alternative solutions such as Instagram Live and YouTube.

Taylor Altizer, assistant director of Campus Activities, shed light on how clubs are approaching the transition amid the circumstances caused by the novel coronavirus.

“I have been impressed with the resilience our clubs have shown during this time,” Altizer said. “Many of them are continuing to offer virtual events to help keep their club and the campus as a whole connected. We have not had any clubs choose to deactivate. Many of the presidents I have spoken with are especially committed to leading their club well during this time.”

Altizer said club presidents are dedicated to providing community outlets for students even during their time at home.

“Our club presidents are having to be creative in how they engage with their club members since they are currently unable to meet in person,” Altizer said. “Many clubs are holding virtual events and meetings throughout this time using different online avenues, such as Instagram Live, Zoom, email, etc. Community Life will typically highlight these events on our Instagram story. These events can be found on individual club Instagram accounts, as well as on the Community Life Instagram.”

While the current situation requires adaptation, it also brings new benefits. Emme Evans, Art Club president and sophomore art therapy major, took some time to reflect on the positive outcomes of the current situation.

“Even though we are not able to meet up in person, this situation has brought some positives,” Evans said. “We usually provide the workshop materials, but because we can’t meet up in person we are getting creative and trying to think of materials that people may already have at home. Another positive is that we don’t have a cap on the number of participants that can join, thus we can open the workshops to everyone. Our mission is to provide students from all disciplines with a creative outlet and place to experience different artistic mediums while having fun. Even if we can’t meet on campus, our goal is still the same.”

Evans also explained how Art Club is using Instagram Live to offer art tutorials.

“We are hosting virtual workshops on our Instagram (@cbu_artclub),” Evans said. “In the workshop live streams, we will be teaching the basics of the medium and going through the process step-by-step. What is unique about the live stream is that viewers can communicate and ask questions during the live. Many people were able to join our last watercolor workshop and we hope to get people’s opinions via Instagram on what kind of workshops they want to see.”

Because many clubs operate in a primarily face-to-face manner, club presidents are brainstorming creative solutions that will continue to foster community through this time. Mary Shanks, Disney Club president and junior liberal studies major, has been utilizing Netflix Party because her club often shares community through Disney movies.

“Thanks to Netflix Party, we can show select Disney movies that members can stream and watch along with us,” Shanks said of the Chrome extension for streaming entertainment remotely with friends. “Every Wednesday at 7 p.m. we are going to try and watch a movie with members using Netflix Party.”

Shanks explained that maintaining a routine will benefit students and the CBU community.

“The most important thing to our club is to keep everything as normal as possible, so make sure to go vote on our movie night poll on Instagram every Tuesday,” Shanks said.

Through online events and social media, student clubs are continuing to bind the Lancer community together even through challenging circumstances.

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