Virtual Support for Student Organizations
Reflect on your organization’s goals and priorities. This year will look different for everyone — reassess your mission and consider ways you might change your expectations while still making sure your organization is fulfilling its goals. This planning questionnaire for your organization to use when thinking about this fall is a fantastic resource.
Meet regularly with your advisor and learn about ways that they can support you.
Establish a communication plan with your leadership, adviser, and organization.
This Cornell University guide provides a comprehensive overview of using Zoom.
Consider building a “program team” of members of your organization who are comfortable with Zoom (or any other platform you choose to use) and can help with the technical side of meeting and event facilitation.
Ask for help when you need it! The Office of Student Engagement and the Campus Activities Board are here to help you and your organization.
When planning events, start with the goal in mind – what does your organization want to accomplish with this event? Does it absolutely need to be in person? If you’re holding it virtually, what platform would be best?
If your organization is hoping to host an event in person, you must get approval through the Office of Student Engagement and the Vice President of Student Life. More information about the College’s policy on in-person events and applying to hold them can be found here.
Ideas for virtual events and activities:
- This list of 53 activities
- Watch parties with Netflix Party
- Trivia nights with Kahoot
- Game nights with JackBox games
All student organizations’ meetings must be held remotely for the time being.
Zoom and Google Hangouts are both great tools for hosting remote meetings and events. Unless you have a Zoom Pro license, Zoom limits group meetings to 40 minutes. If your organization needs a Zoom Pro license, reach out to the IT Service Desk at ITservice@lclark.edu.
Here are some resources for planning and hosting meetings for your organization:
Consider time zones when scheduling meetings if you have members (or prospective members) who are not in Portland this semester. Also, try to maintain consistency with your meeting times – having a sense of routine is helpful for many students during this time.
If possible, use video during your meetings to create a sense of presence. Also consider doing check-ins at the beginning of meetings with all of your members.
Planning each of your meetings with an agenda can be helpful so that leaders and members alike know the focus of each meeting. One method to consider is shaping the agenda as a series of questions for discussion.
Periodically ask your members how your meetings are going – what’s going well, not so well, and where your organization can improve. This is an adjustment period for everyone, but it’s worth the challenge to make your meetings spaces where your members feel welcome and productive.
Just like meetings and events, you can absolutely hold office hours virtually. If you’re using Zoom, you can set up a recurring meeting and use the same link whenever you hold office hours – then, you can keep students in the waiting room and admit them individually.
Students aren’t able to gather this year in the same ways they have previously, but there are still plenty of ways leaders can keep in touch with their organization’s members.
Consider using one of these platforms to communicate with your members:
- Team chat apps with channels for different topics and groups:
Discord: Includes voice channels; most features are included in the free plan; limited integrations with other apps
- Your organization can have a channel in the Lewis & Clark Discord server – reach out to Student Engagement to get that set up!
- Slack: Can integrate with many other apps (e.g. GSuite); some helpful features are limited to a paid plan
- Microsoft Teams: Integrated with other Microsoft apps; good web-conferencing abilities; some helpful features are limited to a paid plan
- Discord: Includes voice channels; most features are included in the free plan; limited integrations with other apps
- Simple group messaging apps – good options if you just want one group chat for your organization:
Be smart about communication – not everything requires a meeting or even an email; sometimes a quick message will do.
Social media is one of the primary ways that students keep up with organizations on campus. If you don’t have any social media accounts, consider starting an Instagram; if you have any, be sure to keep your organization’s social media up to date and interactive. Here are some ideas for ways to use your social media:
- Q&A about your organization and how to get involved
- Storytelling about what your organization has done in the past
- Introduction of leaders, members, and advisers
- Instagram takeovers from your members
- Make fun TikToks!
Space allocations for student organizations are not happening during Spring 2022 because of the Templeton Remodel. However, if you or your organization would like access to a locker in Templeton, please fill out this form. Keep in mind that students will no longer have access to lockers after Fall 2021.
More information about accessing a space that your organization has previously used can be found here.
If your organization needs ADA closed captioning services for your virtual events or meetings, reach out to Student Support Services at email@example.com.
This guide from the University of Colorado outlines best practices for facilitating accessible Zoom meetings. Here are some highlights:
- Sound quality is critical for people who are hard of hearing. Try to reduce background noise and mute participants who are not speaking. The host can use the “Mute All” tool or “Mute Participants on Entry” for this.
- Consider recording your meetings for those who can’t attend or don’t have a good internet connection.
- If you encourage members to turn on their video, consider that some people may have good reasons for not wanting to.
- The chat feature isn’t accessible to everyone. If it’s being used, read comments out loud as part of the meeting and send links from the chat to all participants by email before or after the meeting.
- If you’re screen-sharing, verbalize what’s on the screen and share materials ahead of time.
If there are any resources missing from this page that would be useful to you and your organization, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Engagement is located in room 258 of the second floor of Templeton Campus Center on the Undergraduate Campus.
Director of Student Engagement & Special Events
Lewis & Clark
615 S. Palatine Hill Road
Portland OR 97219