Sonoma State University will remain mostly virtual for the Spring 2021 semester in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). During this remote delivery, all in-person student organization events and activities are canceled. We need to follow the Governor's Safety guidelines every step of the way during this pandemic, to ensure the safety of all our Seawolves.
- Face coverings will be required when you’re on campus (if you’re on campus)
- Under the guidance of Sonoma County public health orders, students are expected to maintain appropriate social distancing
Now, more than ever, it's important for us to be reaching out to all our students, especially those who are new to our virtual campus. We need to welcome them, help them connect, get engaged, and to feel like they are a part of our Seawolf Community. As you know, there are many places and supports on campus to connect from the residence halls, classes, Associated Students, The HUB, and more, but none that offer the myriad of ways to engage than what we have in Student Involvement.
Student Organizations leaders are encouraged to continue planning and meeting with organization members virtually. This site provides student leaders with resources and tips on how to best manage your organization virtually. We will help to provide ideas, encouragement, planning, and resources. We are here for you during this time!
As the university moves to mainly virtual operations, we want to best support you and your organizations virtually as well. We wanted to give you some tools and tips to help you prepare to lead in this new virtual world. We will be in contact with you personally, will put resources online and we will be hosting opportunities to learn from us and from other student leaders. We have started to create some resources that will be housed on our Student Involvement website and as this is not a complete list, we will add new information as it becomes available. As questions arise or if you ever need anything, please do not hesitate to email us at email@example.com.
-The Office Student Involvement | Division of Student Affairs
During this time period, virtual events and meetings may continue to occur. Student Organizations should submit any virtual meeting in Engage@SSU website and indicate that the event location is virtual. Only virtual meetings will be approved. Events that are hosted in-person will be denied. Organizations are encouraged to continue to utilize Engage@SSU website to track attendance and manage their organization membership. Below are links to learn how to track attendance without the Mobile Event Pass and how to create and join virtual meetings/events on Zoom.
● As you know, there will be no in-person meetings for the fall semester. If you would like to consult with Student Involvement staff on ways to host your events virtually or to talk through what options you have for events postponed into summer or fall, please email your Student Involvement Advisor so we can work with you on options.
● Don’t count out the possibility of hosting virtual events! They don’t have to be complicated to take a lot of time to prepare. Be sure to follow our social media channels above and SeawolfLiving as all campus programmatic and campus departments are already at work planning virtual events for the fall semester. If you want to discuss partnership opportunities, email your Student Involvement Advisor.
● If you have events that you want to do virtually but you don’t know where to start, just contact us. We are ready to help you! You are not alone in this!
Communication with your members and advisor is critical during this time of remote delivery. Organizations are encouraged to use Engage@SSU to message their members. Organizations should also use this time to ensure that their contact information is accurate on Engage@SSU website so students who wish to learn more about their organization are able to contact the appropriate individuals.
You might be lost now wondering, “How will I engage my members during this time?” You are encouraged to consider hosting meetings on a semi-regular basis in order to continue to create a sense of normalcy for your organization(s) and to best prepare you for the rest of the semester and even into next fall. Student Involvement strongly recommends you consider a virtual option for your meetings. Adapted from Steven Rogelberg’s “The Surprising Science of Meetings” via UNC Charlotte. Connecting Virtually: there are a number of platforms you can utilize to host meetings virtually for free. We recommend Zoom for business as you can use this platform easily with your sonoma.edu email address. Please note, other platforms like Google Chat and Google Hangout are also options you could utilize as well.
Test out your technology before the start of the meeting. Work with a friend to test out your meeting platform to make sure everything works.
Opt for video calling. While not everyone loves the idea of video calls, they increase connection and community. When possible, choose video calling for a more personal approach to staying connected. Note that in cases where reception is bad, you may have to switch off video calling.
Start each meeting with an icebreaker where everyone gets to share. If there are a lot of participants, consider using the chat features for people to respond and share.
Stick to set times. Set standard weekly meeting times, which should take place for consistency. We recommend, keeping with the regular times you had prior to going remote.
Set clear agendas, outcomes, and action items. We recommend using google docs as a way of creating living agendas where people can see updates in real-time and items as the meeting goes along. At the end of every meeting, be sure to articulate clear action items and next steps.
Create new roles and rotate responsibilities. Think about daily and weekly tasks such as taking meeting minutes and rotate these amongst members to stay engaged. Additionally, consider forming new and creative subcommittees that can work on projects in more intimate chat groups.
Get buy-in! Make sure to create space for allowing others to provide thoughts and input. It’s important to ask things like “what do people think of this?” or “does anyone have anything to add?” Be ok with some silence on the other end as some people may need additional time to think.
Meet one-on-one. If you are in a leadership role within your organization, consider scheduling one on one check-ins with other Executive Board leaders and members. This is a great way to maintain connections and be able to accommodate the different needs of your group.
Centralize organization documents. Consider Google docs, use ENGAGE@SSU, Slack, or another project management system for being able to share information with your organization in a timely, adjustable fashion.
Centralize organization documents. Consider Google docs, ENGAGE@SSU, Slack, or another project management for being able to share information with your organization in a timely, adjustable fashion. Consider a communication channel and set expectations. Consider using Google chat, What’sApp, or even Facebook messenger as a centralized channel for the organization to communicate. This can help keep everyone up-to-date and help avoid the confusing text message chains.
Create a “virtual watercooler”
While ensuring you continue to meet the mission and purpose of your organization is important, it’s also important to recognize that much of what your organization does is social, connecting students to one another. Even in a virtual environment, there are lots of ways to help people connect informally and socially. Here are some ideas:
● Host a daily check-in or kick-off for members. This may be focused on organization-related items, or an opportunity to just wish everyone a great day!
● Host virtual office hours outside of meetings for more personal connections and conversations.
● Create a regular newsletter. There are a number of great resources such as Constant Contact and MailChimp that allow you to create free electronic newsletters. This can be a great way to keep members up-to-date with the activities of the organization. Consider adding trivia questions or fun challenges to make the newsletter more interactive!
Utilize marketing resources such as:
● Canva for posters, short videos, Instagram posts
● Piktochart for posters
● Repost (to repost others Instagrams)
● Seawolf Living for sharing your events or meetings with the campus community
● Powtoons for short cartoon videos
● Crello for animated Instagram posts
● Through the Youth Educational Services
● Knitting hats for NICU babies, Homeless Community, etc.
● Making facemasks for those working in the frontlines
● Cleaning up trash on hikes and posting about it electronically
● Writing letters to folks in Care Facilities, in Prisons, In the Armed Services, etc.
● Virtual Fundraising Campaigns for Local Organizations in need of resources/funding
● Learn a language online (ex: Duo Lingo)
● Cooking lessons online
● Become a naturalist
● Spirit Weeks
● Virtual open mics
● Share your crafting on Facebook, Tik Tok, Youtube, Instagram
● Learn an instrument
● Online religious services or Bible studies
● Netflix watch parties
● Kast watch parties
● Weekly zoom/Google hangout lunches
● Animal crossing- visit other islands
● Attempt to cook the same recipe and post online
● Google boredom busters: what to do when you are bored