As campus remains closed for the remainder of the spring semester, students and staff are finding creative ways to stay connected.
Whether it be through Zoom calls, social media or email chains, there are multiple examples of how the community is holding together while most are living in quarantine.
Resident halls are using social media more frequently in efforts to stay connected in a situation where students and staff would normally see each other on a regular basis.
“We really strive in residence life to make sure all the students are heard and reminded how loved they are,” Jennifer Estrada, senior financial major from Allen, said.
Estrada, senior resident assistant (SRA) for Gardner Hall, runs the Gardner Hall Instagram and has been counting on social media to interact with their residents. Gardner Hall has been using social media trends on Instagram and they’re newly created Tik Tok account to let students know that they’re still there for them.
“I guess most importantly we just want to make sure that people still find a place where they can feel like they are being thought about,” Estrada said. “We just want to make sure that even though we can’t physically be with our residents, we have our social media where we can continue to spread encouragement and help them grow spiritually and keep us connected. Social media can get pretty stressful sometimes so I think that we just want to provide a safe space for them to feel encouraged and be engaged.”
In addition to Residence life, social clubs across campus are also combating social distancing to stay connected.
“Our officer team is meeting weekly to find new and innovative ways to connect and encourage, some of which will be starting this week like a club chapel and a club-wide Zoom meeting,” Julia Bruce, GATA president and junior marketing major from San Antonio, said. “We want this to be a time focused on truly connecting with each other so that we can come back as an even stronger sisterhood in the fall.”
However, despite the multiple ways to connect, students are still struggling being away from their community.
“Personally, I have been really lonely,” Eleni Mote, GATA Pledge Mom and junior marketing major from Cedar Park, said. “I am used to seeing my friends and club sisters all the time, so being apart from them has been really challenging. However, God has given me peace in knowing that this season is for a reason and that we will be back together soon, hopefully. We elected our new officer team online this year, so navigating this crazy time with these wonderful girls has been a little challenging just because we have to communicate via Zoom, email, and text and have to do a lot of planning for next year in an unconventional way.”
Although campus is continuing to stay closed, students are finding new ways to interact with the community from a distance.
“I would say to rest, enjoy time with your loved ones, and breathe,” Mote said. “God is working in this situation, and while it is difficult to quarantine yourself and be apart from your friends, it will pay off in the long run.”