As we all learn to navigate the new normal during these unprecedented times, our virtual Squad Night held on Sept. 9 was a success in its own way. Although nothing can replace the warmth of face-to-face interactions, having a virtual Squad Night was definitely an alternative worth pursuing — we can benefit from learning from each other how to adapt and thrive, or simply how to get through another day/week in the midst of the COVID19 crisis.
The structure of the event was quite engaging as it mimicked what is normally done face-to-face (minus the delicious food, of course). After the entire group came together for a brief welcome, the squads were broken down into smaller Zoom breakout rooms, which allowed volunteers and students to interact in a more intimate setting.
The playbook was to discuss how to navigate the challenges of remote learning, but not before the usual icebreaker, which this time was to talk about our favorite vacation spots while displaying photos of those locations in our virtual backgrounds. Students and volunteers chatted about that in the smaller breakout sessions, followed by students’ comments on the pros and cons of this new online classroom environment.
The squads came together again to share their thoughts, which sparked discussions and served as a prelude to a presentation by Ronald Johnson, who works for FAU’s Center for Learning and Student Success. Ronald reviewed best practices for success and outlined the types of resources available to students.
Before the night was over, Kim went over some housekeeping items and everyone joined in reciting our mantra: “Think like a Champion, Speak like a Champion, Feel like a Champion.”
Students and volunteers left the virtual meeting in good spirits. Continuing with virtual meetings until things get back to normal is very important, as “We don’t accomplish anything in the world alone, and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that create something.” ― Sandra Day O’Connor, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice