Many events at Gonzaga have been rescheduled, reformatted and rethought due to the coronavirus pandemic. The university, in hopes of providing students with ultimate support, has departments designed for helping college students navigate all aspects of higher education.
Departments such as the Office of Mission and Ministry, Gonzaga Outdoors, the Center for Global Engagement and the Lincoln LGBTQ+ Center provide students of all interests and backgrounds with opportunities to dive deeper, make connections and help the community.
Despite all of the challenges these departments are facing right now, events, support groups and interactions are still happening and staying strong.
The Center for Diversity, Inclusion, Community and Equity (DICE) has developed a schedule full of Zoom experiences to make up for pre-scheduled events.
Joan Iva Fawcett, the assistant dean of DICE, has worked closely with sub-department heads in the division to keep all work-study students employed, develop a master calendar and host speakers.
“There is a huge learning curve,” Fawcett said in a Zoom interview. “Most people don’t really think of community as online, especially at a place like Gonzaga. A lot of what we do is center lounge space for studying, hanging out and organic interaction, not needing a Zoom link to interact with people.”
“I think this whole situation is saddest for the seniors,” Fawcett said. “I am happy we are still having our Lavender Grad for our LGTBQ+ community and student allies. We wanted to make sure to have senior celebrations, if we can.”
Lavender Graduation will be happening on April 24, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. This commencement is meant to complement graduation ceremonies to acknowledge the LGBTQ+ community’s accomplishments.
Asia Jackson, a social media activist, will be featured on a DICE webinar to share her experience as an activist, actress and digital creator. She was scheduled to come to Gonzaga this semester and was going to be rescheduled to come next fall, but Fawcett said she realized that online access was right up her alley.
Matthew Barcus, the program manager for LGBTQ+ education and support, said in a phone interview that he is proud of all of the work DICE is doing and the students that are helping to keep the departments going.
“I have three things I am proud of during this time: Diversity, Inclusion, Community, and Equity (DICE) providing students opportunity to attend SpeakOut webinars, my amazing student workers for managing the LGTBQ+ Center’s social media and moving Lavender Grad online,” Barcus said.
Another department that has moved online is the Center for Global Engagement. It has had to do some rearranging and rethinking, but despite the challenges, the center is still providing students with immense support in their abroad endeavors.
“A lot of our advising and planning resources were already available online on our website or in the application portal,” said Alisha Lombardi, assistant director with the study abroad office. “We are currently working on moving our pre-departure content for outgoing study abroad students to be through Zoom as it would normally be provided in person.”
Safety has become a huge topic of conversation surrounding fall abroad courses.
“While there is uncertainty related to what study abroad programs will look like in fall 2020, our office continues to meet via Zoom, have phone calls and is advocating for the best interest of our students,” Lombardi said. “Safety is our top priority.”
GU Outdoors has done some programming to engage students in activity in the outdoor since online school has started. Its weekly emails include Zoom events such as tying knots, outdoor documentaries and native land territory acknowledgment.
Students at GU should know that even though they may feel alone, they aren’t. GU is continuing to work hard in order to maintain students’ healthy well-being and to be there in this time of need.
For more information about Zoom events to attend and to explore opportunity, visit the student life tab at gonzaga.edu.