Post Coronavirus: Keeping Students Engaged

Ciarra Berry

In these uncertain times, it can be difficult to try to stay involved in activities and events, but Campus Activities Network (CAN) is trying its best to ensure students get the best out of their college experience.

In an interview with CAN’s head staff Wednesday, Sept. 16, we discussed the changes CAN has made to its planning and events to incorporate COVID-19 guidelines, while still encouraging student engagement. 

“I’m pleasantly surprised,” said Kendall Kolk, executive director of CAN, about how smooth the transition has been with the changes they have made. 

CAN officially became an organization in 2016 with the primary goal to provide events to keep students engaged. “It is a way to get students involved… a way to do things without having to be committed or involved long-term,” said Amanda Tintaya, assistant director for student leadership and activities. 

Kolk added, “ It’s giving them something to do with limited things to do … to meet new people in different schools. It is inclusive to everyone.”

Prior to COVID-19, planning and events were a little different than what they are now. All events were in person and there were no limits on how many people could attend. Bingo is CAN’s most popular event each year and usually has around 75 people who attend. Players could just jump in at any time and participate in the event. However, now due to social distancing and room limits, Bingo has been reduced to around 40 people and is first come, first served. 

Post COVID-19, attendance is now recorded at all events by taking emails. Everyone is required to wear a mask and social distance, however, roommates are allowed to sit next to each other. Sanitation of all tables is done prior to the events starting, and if it is an event that requires supplies, like CAN’s Paint Night, then those are all pre-packaged individually and are disposable, when necessary. CAN is now also offering events every week and more weekend events than they ever have before to provide more opportunities for students to stay engaged. Hybrid virtual events are also taking place to provide an alternate way to attend for people who are not comfortable with in-person events. 

CAN’s Hamilton Trivia took place Thursday, Sept. 17. The trivia was done through Kahoot and was hybrid. This was the first-ever Hamilton trivia that CAN has done, so the turnout was less than their more popular events—eight people attended. However, the students who did attend vocalized that they enjoyed it very much.

“CAN  has helped me get out of my dorm and do something fun for a little bit,” said Meredith Kennedy, a sophomore in the conservatory. Kennedy heard about the event through the campus newsletter. When asked about how this event is different than previous ones, she stated “This semester is different in the fact that more people are participating in CAN events online, rather than in person.” She was one of the two people who attended the Hamilton trivia event in person, while others connected via Zoom. Kennedy said she looks forward to attending more CAN events. 

Ally Altland, a senior conservatory student, also attended the trivia in person. This was her first-ever CAN event and she won second place. Altland stated that she came to the event to “see how much she knew about Hamilton.” She was very happy with her prizes, which were a Hamilton T-shirt and a $20 Starbucks gift card, and she said that she would likely attend future events. 

All events are free with prizes.

“It’s easier to stay in your dorm or home, but it’s worth it to get out,” Tintaya said.
CAN’s semester of events has already been planned out, but they are still “playing it by ear and being flexible,” according to Kolk. Future events include Grey’s Anatomy trivia, bingo, week-long fall activities, Destress Week, and much more. Some dates are to be decided, but you can find out more information about what events CAN have upcoming on its Engage page

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