Despite the restrictions of social distancing, some Texas A&M organization members are still finding ways to keep in contact with each other.
Many student organizations are utilizing applications such as GroupMe, Discord and Zoom for members to stay in touch with one another and as a way for these organizations to continue having meetings despite not meeting in person.
The Creative Writers of Aggieland is one organization striving to maintain some sense of routine through weekly meetings on Discord. The organization’s president, psychology senior Shannon Kubricht, said Discord has several helpful features that make it a good choice for their online meetings.
“I like the chat features,” Kubricht said. “It doesn’t use quite as much bandwidth with how many people are online at once. I like having the server on Discord: there’s a general chat we can use, and I’ve created another chat for having announcements.”
Education senior Delaney Couri, an executive in MSC OPAS, said her organization has been keeping in touch mainly through GroupMe.
“We have a couple of different GroupMes among the organization,” Couri said. “We’ve been keeping in touch through that with some slight business-related things, but mostly it’s been, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ and ‘Oh my gosh, this is crazy.’”
Couri said MSC OPAS also plans to continue having its biweekly general committee meetings through Zoom.
“We’re looking at doing breakout groups for that and trying to see how we can continue with our meetings in an alternative version,” Couri said. “They would be a little bit more relaxed, a little less information-based and more conversation-based.”
Texas A&M Speech and Debate Club president, international studies sophomore Will Watson, said his organization has been able to have its two weekly meetings on Zoom. Not only have the members been able to continue meeting, but the transition has actually benefited the organization in more than one way.
“We’ve been able to improve some of the stuff we’ve been doing with screen sharing and that sort of thing,” Watson said. “[Also], some people are very busy, so they didn’t come to meetings because it didn’t fit in with the time they had to get home and then do stuff. Now if you have a minute, you can just log in, talk and then leave without having to sacrifice a big block of time.”
Kubricht also noted some changes to the way meetings work in an online format.
“Side conversations have gone down, just to be able to hear everyone,” Kubricht said. “Former members have made more appearances, and people who couldn’t come before now can. I like that that’s happening, but I also miss seeing everyone in person.”
While online meetings do not have quite have the same feel as meeting with people in real life, Couri said continuing to connect with an organization is very important during these turbulent times.
“Whether you’re a parent trying to homeschool or a college student trying to get all your stuff done, you need some self-care,” Couri said. “You just need some fun, and I think that’s what organizations can do right now.”