How to Come Up with Student Engagement Ideas During A Pandemic
Going to college is a huge milestone in any young person’s life. This is where they find out who they want to be, what they want to do, and where they want to go all without adult supervision. Or at least, that’s what they think. Parents love the idea of their children going to college not only because it prepares them for their future success in the business world, but it’s just a nudge out of the nest, not push.
The college experience comes wrapped in a neat, little bow. It’s the softer transition out of the house and into the real world, but many high school graduates are putting college on hold or opting to take online courses. In this article, I’ll address why student engagement ideas are more important than ever and will hopefully get the creative juices flowing.
Student Engagement Is as Important as Ever
Incoming freshmen are especially frustrated with their “college experience.” Many don’t believe they’re getting what they’ve paid for, and when they’re spending on average of $20,000 a year to go to college, they weren’t expecting to be locked inside a two-by-two dorm room with their roommate living right on top of them having to zoom in for classes. The consensus is disappointment. Many students are opting to forgo living on campus in favour of studying from home or taking a gap year which means colleges are losing money.
Socially Distanced Student Engagement Ideas
- Play games via phone apps–they require no physical contact and everyone still gets to have a great time.
- Play non-contact sports outside–everyone wears a mask, they pass a ball or a Frisbee standing at least six feet apart, but students still get the social contact they crave.
- Have zoom floor meetings–yes, we all know this isn’t as fun as person-to-person parties, but it still offers students a way to make new friends and reduce isolation blues.
- Door decorating contests–Put out some construction paper and other supplies in the lobby and then let the creativity begin. Let’s raise the stakes. Put aside a prize for the winner.
- Give out goodie bags–This is an inexpensive, yet thoughtful way to make students feel welcome. In this case, a little goes a long way, and students will surely appreciate the gesture.
- Have a drive-in movie-this one takes a little bit more planning, but if you have the time and resources, students will be thrilled to have a safe night out.
2020 has not been the best for anyone, but staying connected throughout it all is key. Maybe student engagement doesn’t look like it had in the past, but that doesn’t mean there still aren’t activities to plan and people to meet. Basically, if everyone wears a mask and maintains at least a six-foot distance, any event should be possible.
These are trying times, but that doesn’t mean you have to go through it alone, and students should know it. The pandemic has thrown more than a few curveballs, but isn’t the whole purpose of college to teach young adults how to adapt? What better way to get started than keeping students engaged throughout these unprecedented times?