By: Madison Heun, Alexis Beck, Jade Henschel, Angela White
Campus activities may look different, but their importance remains the same.
During a “normal” semester at the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay, students are able to come together almost every day of the week for a variety of events throughout campus. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, event programmers on campus have adapted to different delivery platforms to get students connected and involved.
Adam Novotny, a Program Coordinator in the Office of Student Life, defines programming as an event that brings people together around a common activity or goal.
“That can be in-person or virtual, as we found out this year,” Novotny says.
Because of COVID-19 guidelines that are in place, special considerations must be put into place, such as social distancing.
Dr. Georjeanna Wilson- Doenges, Chair, and Professor of Psychology, says, “Humans are social creatures. We need interaction with each other to survive. Social distancing is hard for us to handle.”
UWGB event programmers, organizations, and departments are attempting to provide students with opportunities to engage with one another.
Novotny says, “Last spring, it was like the flip of a switch, where we had to switch from in-person to going to virtual.”
Providing students with activities and events to go to virtually has not been a challenge for Novotny and Office of Student Life programmers. Instead, the sense of community on UWGB’s campus is difficult to maintain due to the lack of one-on-one connections.
You may have people coming for a “Take and Make” event, and they are grateful for that, but it was a really powerful thing to be able to have everyone there at once and walk around to see people engaging here or seeing people interact with each other.”
Priyanka Bharadwaj, a senior at UWGB and General Manager of Good Times Programming, says, “As we’ve seen with COVID-19, life can get really boring when there’s nothing to do but [attend] class and work. It’s really important for college students to make connections with others during their time at college.”
Dr. Wilson-Doenges says campus engagement is important for students because they can, “explore different facets of who they are as a person, develop skills that will aid in the career, develop friendships and support networks, develop healthy relationships, and learn how to communicate with others.”
Fortunately, UWGB is beginning to start hosting smaller-scale in-person events in the University Union, such as Glow Zumba and various “Take and Make” crafts.