In response to migration of all in-person activities to online only, the Center for Student Involvement has created this guide to support you all as student leaders maintain engagement and fun social interactions. We believe it is essential that we are connected as a campus, and that is even more true than ever! This guide will help you generate ideas for programs that can be held online/remotely, as well as direct you to the correct resources to make your brainstorm a reality.
Note: for legal reasons, we do not recommend simultaneous streaming of movies or TV shows that are not open access (i.e. on YouTube). These materials have rights reserved by their streaming company (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, etc.) and might be subject to communal screening standards. Instead of simultaneous watching, we recommend having a discussion about these films/TV shows after participants view them individually.
An Abundance of Ideas!
Below is a list of potential options to get your gears turning! Much of this list is also borrowed from the following resources: 53 Virtual Activity Ideas to Keep College Students Engaged During COVID-19 by Jodi Tandet and Student Activities Professionals of Higher Education Facebook Page.
- Alumni Connections: If your organization has alum (of UW Tacoma or the organization) who would be willing to return, they could lead any number of conversations: adulting after college, career paths, advice to the organization, educational workshops, etc.
- BINGO! SAB already has an account with an online Bingo Card Generator. Contact Steve Schauz at email@example.com if you would like to utilize this option. For a virtual BINGO roller, use https://appzaza.com/bingo-number-generator.
- Board Games: Many board games also have an online version. These might be stand-alone apps available for purchasing, or they can be sourced from streaming-like services such as Board Game Arena.
- Concert! You might not be able to go to the venue, but many artists are still doing live-stream performances from their home studios! Check out this comprehensive list from NPR. If you don’t want to live-stream watch, you can always have a watch party of NPR Tiny Desk Concerts on YouTube.
- Cooking Demonstrations: Channel your inner Claire Saffitz or Brad Leone and show us how to cook gourmet in quarantine. Bon Appetit!
- Crafting Night: Provide students a list of supplies they will need in order to make an item. Maybe it’s a painting, or greeting card, or just color pages. If it is a complicated craft, someone can demonstrate. Or, maybe, you all watch one Bob Ross Video at the same time via screen-sharing on Zoom.
- Dance Party! Just get together and jam to some tunes!
- Discussion Groups: Select a book, movie, docuseries (Tiger King?!), podcast, TEDTalks, music album, etc. Give folks at least a week or so to complete an “assigned” reading, viewing, etc. As a facilitator, come prepared with questions to open conversation and, depending on your objective with the discussion, challenge ideas and drive learning.
- Exercise and Recreation: The University Y is still hosting many online/virtual classes through the y360 online app as well as via their social media accounts. As a student and a Y member, you should have immediate access to these resources. Also, there are a number of other fitness apps that are also offering free access for students at this time, so you can always research that. Or, organize folks to all attend the same class virtually! Work out together and maybe also hang-out online afterward to encourage each other/check in about the workout.
- Gaming Demonstrations: Use Twitch to show new players how to play. Can be live-streamed or pre-recorded.
- Guided Meditations: Monologues can usually be found online if you are interested in leading the process.
- Hobby Demonstrations: Do you have a fun hobby? Running? Cooking? Oil-painting? Pottery? Record or live-stream yourself at work so others can learn form and technique from you.
- Hot Topics / Current Events Discussions: Select a topic that is pressing or particularly relevant to your group. As a facilitator, come prepared with guiding questions around the topic as well as community expectations for an effective discussion. Consider how to make your space safe and/or brave for establishing community expectations. Maybe base the conversation around one unifying element, such as everyone is drinking tea at the same time!
- Live-Streamed Performances: There are many live performance artists (musicians, slam poets, magicians, etc.) who are still hosting virtual performances instead of coming to campus. You can look to their artist or agency pages to see if this might be an option. If you are already signed up for newsletters (from artists or agencies), you can refer to those to see availability! SAB also attends NACA to seek out performers. If you are interested in seeing the options that might available through this platform, contact Steve Schauz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Museum / Travel Tours: Many museums, aquariums, and monuments have set up virtual tours of their facilities. Go on a group tour of the Louvre or the Great Wall of China. Research local and global locations such as these to see if they are going virtual tours, and then go on a trip with your group.
- Open Mic Nights! Come up with a set-list of performers. Get folks who want to share their original songs, poems, short story selection and let them present to the Zoom audience. Maybe theme this event! Encourage folks to have a coffee or tea since Open Mics are like always in a coffee house.
- Playlists: Create a community driven playlist on Spotify or YouTube. Options for themes could include: what are you loving to listen to this week?, best new music, songs about staying home, songs that use the word “distance.” As a follow-up, folks can share their new favorite via group message.
- Puzzling: Group crosswords, puzzle rooms, word-searches!
- Social Media Engagement / Competition:
- Best of Zoom Virtual Background - Award someone for the best background!
- Pet Photos - Have your group share pet photos with a shared hashtag
- Theme Selfies - Maybe it’s someone’s birthday, or a special celebration in the group, or maybe everyone just wants to dress up like Snoopy!
- Study Lounges: Don’t forget about your classes. Host a time for your group to gather to study. Use break-out rooms on Zoom for different types of work such a writing room for essays or a subject-specific focus.
- Trivia / Live Games: You can create your own rounds of trivia! Designate at least one person in your organization to be the researcher and host. Number of rounds and themes are up to you all, but just make sure you have the correct answers. Teams can be divided into Break-out rooms to discuss in a Zoom meeting. See the Zoom set-up options guide later in this guide for How-To. Kahoot could also be utilized!
- Unique Holiday Gatherings / Celebrations: We cannot forget to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day (April 12) or National Lost Socks Memorial Day (May 9).
Types of Engagements
Prior to planning a virtual event, you should consider what type of engagement you are hoping to gain? How are you hoping to interact with your audience? Here are some options:
- Next Best Thing to In-Person: These are events that you could and might normally host in-person! You will want participants to feel connected and welcome within the space. You will want them to be a part of the experience in one way or another. This will make participants more active. Examples include discussions, study lounge, open mics.
- Passive Interaction: These events will allow your participants to engage with you, but they don’t necessarily need to be in the Zoom meeting or in the moment with you all. Examples include recordings of demonstrations, contributing to a communal playlist. Generally, this will be more about the content you produce.
- Social Media / Promotional: These will ask students to communicate with you all via social media, through a campaign or hashtag. This will be an easy and good way to promote and market your organization.
This section is to help provide you some resources on how to create these events. These are often online services that achieve a specific objective. These services or resources will bring your event to life! (Many are also provided in the above “An Abundance of Ideas” section).
- Bingo Card Generator: https://bingobaker.com/ (contact Steve Schauz, email@example.com, for access)
- Bingo Number Generator: https://appzaza.com/bingo-number-generator
- Board Game Arena: https://en.boardgamearena.com/
- Discord (Chat Forum): https://discordapp.com/
- Kahoot (for Trivia): https://kahoot.com/
- Twitch (Live Video Game Streaming): https://www.twitch.tv/
- Y360 (YMCA Virtual Classes): https://www.ymcapkc.org/y360/
- Zoom Video Conferencing: https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/information-technology/video-conferencing
Highly recommended that you download Zoom app and login using SSO sign in for washington.zoom.us. You will be automatically redirected to UW portal where you should enter your UW NetID and password. Create a meeting/event using the schedule option. Once a meeting (event) is created, links can be shared via calendar invite, or they can be posted for public access to websites, social media, etc. for promotion. Within Zoom meetings, the host can create break-out rooms which might be useful for study sessions, trivia teams, etc. Host will invite participants to join a given break-out. Participants accept and can enter to the main “living room” at any time.