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Students staying connected despite physical distance


Away from campus, students are still finding ways to stay connected with each other by using social media platforms and participating in virtual events and classes.

Social Media

This summer it is harder than ever for students to remain connected to their organizations and their peers. Organizations are relying heavily on social media as well as virtual meeting platforms to stay in contact with members. 

“All of my organizations have met virtually,” said Jeffrey Shehee, vice president of black student union. “Some groups use FaceTime because we all have iPhones… In some cases, we’ll already have a certain app on our phone like Zoom.”

Wright State’s website provides a social media directory that lists each organization as well as the social media platforms that they use, so members can stay connected.

Social media is also allowing students to remain in contact with their friends from campus.

“I still talk with my closest friends from campus at least once a day, and that could be over Snapchat, sending TikToks or FaceTiming,” said Jackson Cornwell, SGA college of liberal arts senator. “And I’ve still seen my groups of friends too. Sometimes it’s for a student organization meeting or we just all hop on a Zoom call together to just talk. I really don’t feel any less connected to the people I know than normal.” 

Live Fitness Classes

Live fitness classes are another way that students are staying connected.

“We are teaching these classes live on Facebook,” said Kara Donbrock, program manager of fitness & wellness. “We teach yoga, different cardio and strength classes, and people can follow along at home.”

These fitness classes allow students to form a routine and attend the sessions live with others or even participate in them once the live session is over.

“[The classes] start at specific times and they are usually about half-an-hour to an hour long,” said Donbrock. “If a student or staff member cannot be there at the time it starts, they can always access it whenever they want to on the Facebook page.”

Through these live classes, students can interact with their fitness instructor as well as other members in the class.

“Right now on Facebook they can definitely comment,” said Donbrock. “When we are teaching there is a live stream on the side, and we can see people commenting and I can talk back to them. I can also see who is joining so I can say hi to them, and they can comment emojis too.”

Although these classes are held completely online, this does not affect their outreach.

“I think we definitely get more outreach when we post these videos on social media, which is why we are going to continue to do this even when we are back on campus,” said Donbrock. “We definitely have more people on social media.”

Discord

Many students in the College of Engineering and Computer Science are communicating through a platform called Discord.

“[Discord] is a voice and text chat platform for pretty much any computing device,” said Matt Kijowski, cyber systems program manager.

Discord allows these students to communicate with each other as well as some faculty through text and voice chats. Students can ask questions regarding their assignments or ask fellow students for advice or help.

“We started with putting all of our classes online,” said Kijowski. “[Students] can go into our Discord server and [they] can find any one of the CS classes that are active this summer and can start taking part in discussions in those classes.”

Discord also allows students to have informal conversations and stay in contact with fellow students.

“We created one channel called ‘fun in the sun’, which is for all summer stuff,” said Kijowski. “It’s a social space that people are posting pictures of what they are doing during the summer. We [have] text chats about general fun and text chats about personal projects.”

Since Discord was implemented, it has gained a following of over 600 members and usually has many members live at one time online.

“I typically see between 100 and 200 students signed in live and usually three faculty and most of the TAs,” said Kijowski.

“It’s really just a chat platform that we rolled out and because of its popularity it seems like we have a lot of students adopting it,” said Kijowski.

This summer students are connecting differently, but through social media and live meetings, students remain involved in their organizations, activities and friend groups.