With Zags spread all across the nation, some in Spokane and some at home, this unprecedented year has brought challenges of all kinds.
Adjusting to online learning, wearing masks and constant hand washing has created numerous challenges for GU and its students.
Due to the lingering risk of COVID-19, Zags may find themselves limited in what they can do with their friends in and around campus. Luckily, through technology, there’s many different ways to connect with other students while staying safe and healthy.
Clubs are a common way that many Zags meet other students. Just because learning isn’t remote, it doesn’t mean that joining a club is out of the question. On Zagtivities, there’s a vast list of different clubs that are accepting new members to join virtually.
On September 14 and 17 from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. there is a virtual club fair where students can look into what different clubs around campus are doing during COVID-19. Information about these two fairs can be found on the Zagtivities website.
One of those clubs that will be attending the virtual club fair is A Moment of Magic, a nationwide organization that specializes in bringing magic to those who need it most. Its regular agenda includes going to hospitals dressed as princesses, superheroes and fairies and even though COVID-19 restrictions have halted in person visitations, the club is still able to continue their mission virtually.
“We are continuing to provide hot line calls over FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and other online platforms where a child can schedule a one-on-one call with their favorite character,” said Ellie McElligot, president of the GU chapter of A Moment of Magic.
A Moment of Magic is also continuing its weekly meetings virtually. They meet at 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays on Zoom. The club is also actively looking for new members to join, which would be a great opportunity for new Zags to meet some new friends virtually and safely.
“To recruit new members, we are mainly utilizing social media and spreading info by word-of-mouth,” McElligot said. “On our Instagram page (@momentofmagicgonzaga) there is an interest form in our bio that any interested students can fill out.”
There are a number of Zags who are learning completely from home over the course of this semester. One of them is sophomore Garrick Bateman, who is learning from his hometown in Fort Collins, Colorado.
“I just thought if I stayed then I would be a little less confined and a little more active,” Bateman said. “I had a lot of friends from Colorado who were also staying, it was nice to know that I had a bit of a social network to lean into at home.”
Bateman is learning in his sister’s empty bedroom, which he set up to be a make-shift office in order to have the separation between where he works and relaxes.
Bateman keeps in touch with his friends from GU primarily through his group messages and Snapchat, but he feels that the best way to stay connected to his friends is through regular FaceTime calls.
“Just like seeing your friend’s face is good, and talking on the phone and hearing their voice is really important too,” Bateman said.
Through different video-chatting apps, students that are far removed from their friends can feel closer than ever before. Websites like NetflixParty allows people to watch Netflix in real time with a group of their friends. Hulu has also released a feature in June of 2020 allowing subscribers to watch their favorite movies and TV shows together, while apart.
There are also a number of websites that people can tune into to play different games together with their friends, even some that may be a blast from the past. Cprewritten.net is a new version of Club Penguin, a game that was popular in the mid 2000’s amongst kids. There are a number of flash games on the website, and users can waddle around town with their friends.
Thankfully, through modern technology, being alone doesn’t have to feel so lonely. Through virtual club meetings and FaceTime and Zoom calls, Zags are able to stay connected with their friends and the GU community.
Lindsey Wilson is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @lindseyrwilson1.