Today, Michele Gillespie, Dean of the College, sent a message to students in the College about discovering new ways of connecting and finding community in the times of COVID-19. It’s a great message; read it here. Lots of good info to digest.
In a place as personal as Wake Forest – which is high touch and face-to-face in so many ways – I feel for our students who have to be away from campus. College living sometimes felt like a wolf pack to me – I had my friends, and we all ran together as a group: ate together, partied together, studied together, exercised together. There was a great sense of the collective and because we lived together in such close quarters, my friends and I were together all the time and intimately involved in discussions, decisions, debates, TV watching, you name it. There may have even been an alpha in each pack – the ringleader of the friends.
Now your students are home (or hunkering down on campus, or staying elsewhere) and they are without their respective wolf packs and the connection that comes with that. We hear anecdotally that many students are finding ways to have virtual lunches, or dinners, or coffees, or whatever, and that is fantastic. Today I want to offer a suggestion (if they have not already found it): the Zoom virtual background for meetings.
Zoom is a platform that students have access to for videoconferences. If your Deac has not already done so, they can configure their account and get started with Zoom. Within Zoom, there is an option under Settings for Virtual Background. This allows you to upload a picture that will project behind you as you hold your video meeting.
For my own Zoom account, I have uploaded pictures of places I have vacationed, so during meetings my colleagues can enjoy some scenic backdrops, rather than look at the 4 walls of my tiny dining room home office. Your student can upload pictures of places at Wake and then can hold Zoom meetings with their friends that makes it feel more like they are back on campus (or use those backdrops for classes that are using Zoom to meet).
I took the liberty of going through my excellent colleague Ken Bennett’s photo archive and will put some shots below that your students can use. They can Zoom themselves in the Pit, in Starbucks, on the Quad, or in Farrell Hall or the ZSR, maybe even at cafe tables or a very special dinner party on the Mag Quad. But of course they can also use any pictures they have of places on campus that are meaningful to them, or favorite haunts in Winston-Salem.
Encourage your Deacs to consider hosting a Zoom with their friends. We know they are missing that connection and want to be sure to help reduce their sense of isolation. And encourage them to go beyond their normal wolf pack and invite others – do a virtual coffee with a friend from class, or an old roommate, or a person they know who is still on campus.
Finally, want to give a shout out to our new Student Government officials: Miles Middleton is the 2020-21 Student Government President and Victoria Parker is the Student Government Treasurer. Both the Speaker of the House and the Secretary position will be going to a runoff election today; runoffs will be between Ally Swartzberg and Jenna Mayer for Speaker of the House and Caroline Walker and Dave Myatt for Secretary. Hope all your Deacs vote.
Reminder: no Daily Deac or Call Center tomorrow because it is a University holiday and offices will be closed. We’ll be back on Monday, though.
Stay safe and well, Daily Deacdom. Here are some potential Zoom backdrops for your Deacs and there are more here. And a special bonus from Twitter. Be sure to click play if it doesn’t start on its own so you get the sound 🙂
— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)
Categories: the daily deac