AS “Creating Your Fall 2020 Experience” event addresses challenges with engaging students in fully-virtual format

Associated Students, along with the University Student Union and the Matador Involvement Center, hosted the

Daniel Mendez

Associated Students, along with the University Student Union and the Matador Involvement Center, hosted the "Creating Your Fall 2020 Experience" via Zoom on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020.

Daniel Mendez, Reporter

Student involvement looks different this year. With virtual class instruction and few opportunities to be on campus, Associated Students has been reimagining student life through a fully-virtual presence.

AS hosted a virtual event, “Creating Your Fall 2020 Experience,” in conjunction with the University Student Union and the Matador Involvement Center on Friday.

A panel made up of representatives from the three divisions shared resource information on programs and events, and provided a peek into what student life will look like for the fall 2020 semester.

Introductions and presentations featured information about clubs and upcoming virtual events. All panelists emphasized the importance of community, connection and personal wellness.

A Q&A portion was led by Vice President of Student Affairs William Watkins.

One student asked how to effectively reach financial advisors online. Students once went to Bayramian Hall to handle all inquiries regarding financial aid, but the traffic through phone and email have increased by thousands, according to Watkins.

Watkins acknowledged staffing issues within the financial aid office and asks for students to not call or email the office repeatedly as it adds to the backlog, and to rather wait for a response.

“We’re engaged in some processes to try to increase staffing and permit employees to work longer hours so that we can catch up with some of the questions that are out there,” Watkins said.

“It’s really important to remember why you’re here in the first place… we’re all in this together. “

– Associated Students President Rose Merida

 

AS is challenged with educating and engaging the student body remotely, and has been working with over 160 organizations who plan to meet virtually every week.

Vice President Deion Joseph Turner said the AS and USU are working hard to shift all of its programs online.

“It’s hard. But you know, there’s not anything that AS and USU and the rest of the team can’t handle,” Turner said.

Debra Hammond, the executive director for the USU, announced an upcoming program at the Dream Center for undocumented students, called a “Pathway to Citizenship Presentation Series” that allows students to connect to virtual resources and services.

The USU will host a variety of community engagement events such as the “We are CSUN” campaign, which will showcase different CSUN students, faculty and staff members’ stories on the USU’s web page and social media.

Other upcoming events from the USU, such as “Essential Talks” plan to encourage topical discussions about racism, inclusion and social justice.

The AS, USU and the Matador Involvement Center will rely heavily on social media engagement with Instagram takeovers such as the “How to…” series hosted by the Pride Center that provides tutorials on various topics that include art, cooking and self-care.

Associated Students President Rose Merida stressed the importance of staying involved. Merida said she knows firsthand how being a part of a campus community can change the college experience for the better.

“It’s really important to remember why you’re here in the first place,” said Merida. “Take this as a character-building journey, we’re all in this together.”

To find more information about upcoming events and workshops, visit the Associated Students Instagram or virtual office.

 

Editor’s Note: Story was updated on Sept. 1 at 2:07 p.m. for readability.