Virtual Events: A New Focus
Cassandra Matthews ~ Assistant Editor
Virtual and socially distanced events are underway for University of Lynchburg students to enjoy safely.
Student organizations on campus are replacing some in-person events with virtual events in order to keep students having fun while staying safe at the same time.
Second-year student Ruby Grant is the PR and Marketing Coordinators for the university’s Student Activities Board. This organization is tasked with running recreational programs and events for students to enjoy where students need a valid student ID to attend.
Grant said that in-person events, such as a “succulent night” in which students got to pick out and put together a succulent, have already been taking place. However, the shift from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2 means that virtual events are now the priority. The Student Activities Board has hired comedians, musicians, magicians, and other performers to come to campus, but she said that “most of them have transitioned virtually and online, so it is really good for us, because we do not know how else to do it, so they are being really great.”
Rachel Garnett, a junior and president of the Commuter Student Association said, “Keeping in mind that we can go off campus for events, we were thinking we wanted to go to either Peaks View or Riverside Park and maybe do a hike, like Sharp Top or Flat Top, to make our events a little bit safer, and we have also considered online events such as Pictionary or an online [Netflix] party.”
Both Grant and Garnett reported that surveys were sent out to students in order to get students’ ideas on what events they would like to see. Garnett said, “We really wanted to ensure that we were putting on events that our commuters wanted, so we sent out a form at the beginning of [the semester] to hear what they had to say about what they wanted […] We just sent out that form again in order to hear from them and make sure that we are making their experience the best it can be.”
Grant understands that virtual events are not always as well-attended as in-person ones. “That is mainly why we did a survey, because we wanted to see if people would still come if it is virtual […] Most of the people say maybe, and then I think like 30 percent they say yes. […] Hopefully we will transfer to maybe having some in-person but usually those are max 50 people, still socially distanced.”
Organizations were given the option to have a booth at an in-person organization fair, or conduct a virtual version. The Commuter Student Association decided to go virtual. Garnett said, “We had decided to do the organization fair virtually, as it was the easiest for our schedules, and we were not quite sure that we should go on campus. So, we decided to do it virtually, and we had one person show up […] and we talked with her and we got to hear about her concerns.” Only one person attended, but Garnett still said that the event turned out “better than I could have hoped […] We got to really get to know one person and hear her story about being a commuter and make sure we had events that she would enjoy since she took the time to come talk to us, and now we are considering doing tennis at some point because she really likes to play tennis. […] I want to make sure that [commuters] have fun! And they are enjoying their commuter experience and that we can help them make the best out of this situation however we can.”
As for the Student Activities Board, the rest of the semester will have more of a virtual focus. Grant said, “Once we went to Level 2 […] we kind of had to go in panic mode and try and contact everyone we had planned for the next three or four months and get them virtually, or get them to see if they still want to come or do something socially distanced. […] I hope to see more people tune in to virtual events. I know it is hard because we are not in person and I know it is hard to find things to do during quarantine but that is really what we are trying to do and engage students in a different way even though they are at home and we do have really great people come and support our campus and give us a good show so I hope more people come.”