What do we know?
From the plentiful conversations that we have had with our contacts from around the state of Virginia, there are many different “schools of thought” on what the Summer and Fall will look like as schools are tackling reopening. According the New York Times, many colleges seem to be working to have as close to a typical Fall semester as possible, of course following the CDC guidelines put forward for the various stages of reopening.
We also know that there will continue to be physical distancing, mask-wearing, and hesitant students as we get back to a “new normal” moving forward.
What is still missing?
No matter the version of reopening that takes place with schools, we know that schools want students to be connected to their community, and their experiences at school. That is going to be really challenging, but still just as important as ever! Many schools are moving to a virtual format for welcoming students to campus, bringing them through a “remote” orientation, and beyond, yet without welcome events for students to interact with one another, they could disengage with the process.
There will still be nervous students, who need connections to other students. There will still be the need for social and emotional support for students transitioning to a college school schedule. It is unlikely that they will get this support solely from videos and online presentations.
What should schools do about it?
Just as they are – schools are creating ways for students to engage and experience one another in a “non-academic” way. You might call it Virtual Team Building, which to many sounds like a “far out” proposition, or a “shot in the dark”.
This is where Challenge Discovery comes in. We have spent the last two and half months refining a virtual experience that we are calling Virtual Teams. It uses the Zoom.us platform, including the very unique “breakout rooms” feature. We take students through a highly facilitated 2-hour experience that allows students to mix with MANY others, getting to know MANY students, be challenged in the process, and have fun!
This is not a replacement for in-person experiences. However, it does give students the opportunity to experience their peers – including learning lots of names and faces. For this reason, we are finding that it is working really well as a way to bring NEW GROUPS together, meaning this program would be a great fit for:
– Orientation Leaders
– New Student Orientation groups
– Returning-to-campus events
– Welcome-week events
– Student Leadership Training
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