Social Wellbeing and COVID-19

By Erinn Forbes, Office of Student Engagement

In a time of such intense separation, it’s more crucial than ever that we have opportunities to bond socially. For first year students especially, the fall semester is a time to meet new people, participate in welcoming activities, and experience campus traditions for the first time. It can be difficult to do this with limits on gatherings and physical distancing requirements, but student organizations across campus are finding new ways to stay connected and keep traditions alive.

Organizations have begun this de-densified fall semester with a special advantage: they already have a smaller group of friends and classmates that share common interests with them. They are able to have in-person interactions with a few members at a time by having lunch together outside and playing games on the quad. Many are even still hosting their traditional in-person events in shifts over a longer period of time, so students can sign up for a specific shift  and enjoy events  like ASIA’s Harvest Moon Festival, and OLAS’s Fiesta on the Quad with smaller crowds than typical. Sign up for these events and more on The Link!

Most groups have also decided to continue their regular organization-wide activities online. Technology is one of the most critical tools for keeping us connected while we are physically apart. Our student organizations are embracing the challenge that comes along with new COVID-19 policies by using technology to find solutions to staying active. Student Union, Wake’s campus programming board, is a great example. One of their favorite traditions is weekly trivia at Shorty’s. Though unable to host their trivia in the Benson restaurant space, Student Union is now offering trivia online, so students can still come to play, and chat with friends in a virtual setting.

Being part of a student organization is a great way for students to enhance their social wellbeing during this time. For first-year students that don’t have those connections already, campus might feel quiet and lonely, but student organizations are always looking for new members to get involved and help them thrive! Our student organizations can all be found on The Link or the Corq mobile app, along with information about upcoming meetings and events going on around campus. To give a more personal look at the different opportunities on campus, the Virtual Involvement Fair is available all semester, with videos from each of our organizations that share more about what they do and how to get involved. This provides a go-at-your-own-pace option for exploring the many opportunities that Wake has to offer.

For a more guided involvement experience, the Office of Student Engagement also has peer Engagement Consultants, dedicated to helping every Deacon find their place. Any student, whether they’re a first-year or a senior, can fill out the Interest Matcher, share their hobbies and interests, and they’ll be paired with an Engagement Consultant who will review their interests, curate some suggestions for getting involved and schedule a virtual consultation to talk more about how to get plugged in on campus.