Welcome Week goes virtual


Courtesy of the UPD

The University Police Department provided free masks and hand sanitizers at various campus locations as a part of the Welcome Week program. Most departments on campus held events virtually to comply with social distancing practices.

As students returned to campus this semester, they had the opportunity to interact with their peers and learn more about campus virtually.

This year, annual Welcome Week events such as “Strawberry Jam,” “Paint Party” and “Block Party” were not held in compliance with current COVID-19 restrictions. However, several campus organizations and departments utilized social media and other virtual platforms for contests and activities beginning Aug. 14.

Faculty, staff and student leaders set up “Just Ask Me Tents” at the Pennington Student Activity Center to assist new students around campus and distribute masks and water.

Several departments hosted virtual contests.

The Office of Student Engagement began the “Lion Up & Mask Up” contest on August 18, encouraging students to design their own face coverings and submit a picture via email for a chance to win a prize on August 25.

“Find the conDUCK” was a contest hosted by the Office of Student Advocacy and Accountability which challenged students to find a rubber duck hidden somewhere on campus.

One of the largest of these contests was the “Blue and You – Search and Treasure” contest held by the University Police Department. The UPD interacted with students via their social media accounts and planted several yellow cones throughout campus which students could turn in to the UPD office in Pride Hall for various prizes.

Tiffany Chavers-Edwards, social media coordinator and communication supervisor for the UPD, detailed how students participated in the contest.

“UPD reached out to other departments across campus for participation,” explained Chavers-Edwards. “Departments like Athletics, Auxiliary Services, OSAA, the Health Center and Student Engagement provided prize items. Each day, Officer Madi put out cones in select locations. Each morning, we filmed a preview video telling students where the cones could be found and then pushed those videos out through our social media platforms — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.”

She explained why the UPD decided to organize this event.

“We wanted an activity where the students would be able to participate in but that still allowed for social distancing and safety precautions,” said Chavers-Edwards. “A scavenger hunt seemed to be our best option because it allowed students to participate on their own without having to be in a large group and interacting with others.”

Chavers-Edwards believes the treasure hunt was a success and that students really enjoyed the event.

In addition, the Campus Activities Board hosted “Virtual Game Night” on August 19. Kaylee Canady, a sophomore business administration major and president of CAB, described how the event worked and the process of planning it.

“Due to COVID and the university enforcing social distancing, our game night took place on Zoom,” said Canady. “We had a pop trivia Kahoot as well as Bingo. As far as planning this event, CAB discussed multiple virtual game ideas that would be interesting to participants, and it definitely took a lot of thought on how to make a virtual event fun when most of CAB’s events are face-to-face.”

Canady believes that students really enjoyed the game night, despite the fact that it was virtual.

“Everyone who participated in our game night seemed very happy to be there even though it was virtual, so that was great to see,” shared Canady. “Considering the circumstances we are all under right now due to COVID, I really hope that everyone who participated in CAB’s Game Night enjoyed not only themselves but the company of others as well.”