By: Alyssa Foster
The Honors Program’s transition to online has recently sparked some struggles as they conduct new events.
Throughout the year, the Honors Program plans several events so that members can attend to receive credit towards their honors program completion. Members must attend at least three of the events each semester in order to meet the honors program criteria.
“The Honors Program and Club work together to provide service projects and events for our students to attend as a way to help our students build community on our campus, keep them engaged in co-curricular and extra-curricular events, and encourage them to learn both within and outside of the classroom,” Neovi Karakatsanis, Honors Program Director, said.
Due to COVID-19 and the limitations for on-campus gatherings, Honors Program officers have had to convert events and service projects to a virtual schedule. As a group based on communication and building relationships, there have been some struggles with virtualizing the Fall schedule.
“Now that we have all our events online via Zoom, it makes it extremely difficult for people to interact and laugh together,” Paige Closson, Honors Program Intern, said.
The Honors Program recently put together a virtual movie night through Zoom and Netflix Party. The showing of “The City of Joy” replaced what would normally be an on-campus movie night. However, problems were met at the beginning when some students found that they could not access the movie without a personal Netflix account.
Upon realization of the Netflix problem, officers attempted to share their screen through the Zoom feature. Unfortunately, the shared screen option only displayed a black screen, making those on the other end unable to view the movie.
Fortunately, these students have the ability to attend events in the future as the officers have put together a well-planned schedule with additional opportunities for members, including several online lectures sponsored by campus groups.
The program has also recently added its first in-person event of the year, scheduled for the end of the month. The four-day project will consist of cleaning up and mulching the hillside of Veterans Memorial Park. This event will consist of community service while remaining under social distancing guidelines.
“Because of COVID-19, we have had to rethink how to continue to serve while keeping students safe. We are hoping soon we will be able to schedule more such face-to-face events, including travel opportunities for our students,” Karakatsanis said.
The program officers will continue to work through plans to accommodate for the safety of its members while allowing them to continue serving. Technical difficulties cannot be planned for, though they will alter the schedule if they see it necessary while they continue an online-based program.
While difficulties may continue to occur through the transition to online, the group will continue prioritizing the health and safety of its members.