COVID-19 has drastically impacted the NC State community. Campus life and activities that NC State’s students, faculty and staff enjoyed have been put on hold.
NC State’s move to the online class format and North Carolina’s government-mandated shutdown have created a dramatic change of pace for most. The community has been forced to adapt to a new reality. Hosting and attending classes on Zoom, dealing with the cancellation of university events and making the adjustment to working from home are just some of the many changes that we’ve been forced to handle.
NC State Updates
Even though we’ve been forced to put a halt to on-campus gatherings and events, ending many of the things that help unite the community, we’ve been working hard to foster community spirit during this time of crisis.
University officials continue to encourage students to stay in touch with their instructors, advisors and peers. NC State has also provided an abundance of educational resources for its community members to offer opportunities for enrichment, unique activity ideas and many more resources for continued engagement.
We’ve also used social media to foster the school spirit that is so integral to the NC State experience. NC State’s twitter embarked on its own virtual March Madness, encouraging students to vote for their favorite Howling Cow ice cream flavor. On a more serious note, the university has worked to use social media to make sure its community stays informed on all university-related news and updates.
How is OIED Supporting Our Communities?
OIED has also turned to social media and other platforms to engage with students during this time.
Nashia Whittenburg, director of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA), says that MSA has been thinking of creative ways to recreate their old normal in their new normal.
“One of the ways we have been able to do this is by creating a MSA ‘virtual suite.’ Students can enter the suite and have conversations around the QOTD (question of the day), how they’re coping, debates or fun topics and everyday topics like what they’re eating or how many days they’ve been in sweats. The suite is operated by a member of our staff and our student coordinators. In addition to the ‘MSA and Chill’ virtual suite, we offer a similar version for our graduate students and we have ramped up our social media,” says Whittenburg.
Other centers are also working towards moving online and many have started partnering with other departments, offices and centers on campus to best serve the campus community.
The Counseling Center and Prevention Services are offering virtual drop-in spaces for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester to provide students the opportunity to develop community virtually by bonding over shared experiences and interests. Drop-in spaces explore wellness and mental health topics in a supportive environment. For most spaces, there is no need to sign up, just to show up.
There are currently six drop-in spaces available for students — Pack Park, International Tea Time, The Nature Experience, Meditation, Start the Convo and The Sister Circle.
Each space has a niche purpose, all of which are intended to support students and promote wellness. The Sister Circle, for example, in partnership with the Women’s Center, is a support space open to all students who identify as womxn of color. The space focuses on discovery, building community and empowerment.
MSA, too, “will be adding drop-in counseling sessions in partnership with Student Health and drop-in info sessions with Study Abroad,” says Whittenburg.
“Whether you are on campus or at home, in Raleigh, somewhere across the country or anywhere around the world, you are an important and valued part of the Wolfpack, and we are here to support you,” said Chancellor Randy Woodson. “We are in this together, and as a Pack, we’ll keep each other and NC State moving forward.”
Jenna Nabors is a third-year student majoring in communication and international studies and is a Park Scholar. Share your thoughts about this article on Twitter at @NCStateOIED.