Temporary Campus Closure Encourages Westminster to Stand Virtually Together

Above, students in a variety of classes interact with one another via Zoom. Center, students in Dr. Tami Ensor’s EDU 203 Art and Music class demonstrate how they are handling online learning. They recently practiced teaching components of a lesson plan by integrating dance. Students danced to a Michael Jackson song “together” via Zoom. Go to the Education Department’s YouTube page here for a glimpse of the action led by Dominic Licameli, ’22 ΒΘΠ.

 

After Westminster College announced on March 18 the move to online courses for the remainder of the semester, a somber student body united, turning to various social media platforms. Professors and students suddenly introduced themselves to the challenges of online assignments and classrooms. Through this difficult and unpredictable time, Westminster students and staff are making strides to mend communication gaps and foster the education and fundamentals that Westminster instills.

Westminster College COVID-19 Support Group

Cydney Funk, ’22, uses social media from her home in Fulton to connect with the Westminster community. Her page reaches out to faculty, staff, students and organizations as a space for individuals to share their thoughts and creativity. Funk encourages students to look at the bright side of online courses and share their daily plans with the group. Many members of the faculty have shared information in an effort to aid students or and provide an optimistic outlook.

Westminster College Center for Faith and Service

Student workers and  Kiva Nice-Webb, Chaplain and Director of the Center for Faith and Service (CFS), have a set weekly social media schedule filled with positivity and reflection for the community. The weekly schedule includes Mindful Monday, Together Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday, Thought for the Day Thursday, Photo Friday and Social Sunday. The organization uses Facebook and Instagram to promote their daily prompt.

Social Sundays are student-led virtual gatherings. On Sunday, March 29, students were asked to participate in an online version of the popular card game “Cards Against Humanity.” Dani Crivello, ’20 ΚΑΘ, is a Senior CFS student worker in charge of helping generate positive social distancing activities for the Westminster Community. Crivello mentions that CFS is hoping to increase the number of participating students in the daily social-distancing events. The campus organization will be advertising more to encourage engagement in upcoming events. The senior, who lives in Maryland Heights, MO, also touched on her quarantine experience with peers.

“I am able to hang out with friends more often online. We aren’t wrapped up with everything happening around campus, therefore enabling us to hang out more” Crivello says.

Zoom Meetings

Zoom isn’t just being used for classroom meetings. Students are using this platform to their advantage to instruct group workouts, practice their parts for an upcoming play or even just to chat with a group of friends.

Brooke Laidley, ’20 ΚΑΘ, uses Zoom from her home in Shiloh, IL, to instruct the JC Elite travelling softball team out of Jefferson City, MO, with at-home workouts. If not for the virus, the senior would be spending her Monday evenings in Jefferson City instructing a workout and conducting team bonding practices. Laidley says the group workouts on Zoom add normality to her daily routines while practicing social distancing.

“Working out with others on Zoom has helped keep us athletes motivated and dedicated to our goals,” she says. “Seeing others exercise is definitely a motivator, as is competing against another teammate.”

Laidley’s Zoom workouts were so inspiring that they recently made the local news here.

Multiple screenshots of video group chats are displayed on Westminster students’ personal media accounts. Students are using the Zoom app to stay connected when they are hundreds of miles apart.

In a time when everyone is scattered throughout the country, away from campus, Westminster is able to stand together virtually.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is a Media and Content Strategist at Westminster College in Fulton, MO. A 1992 graduate of the College, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communication in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.