By Aisha Sowe and Grace Agbali
Student Life at the Germantown campus kicked off the school year with Raptor Week by having virtual and in-person events and activities. In-person events and activities were conducted safely amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The beginning of the pandemic forced everyone to adapt. The Student Life at Germantown Campus had to go virtual, which was not easy due to the many challenges of changing environments. ” We are not able to connect fully like we used to.” Director of Germantown Student Life Team Surayya Johnson says.
This year’s goal of Raptor Week was to engage with new and returning students with the same activities and events and inform them about Montgomery College while still being safe. Throughout the first week, Student Life provided students with fun activities to help students become more involved at MC. Despite the restrictions, Student Life also wanted students to have fun and gain a wider reach.
“We‘re trying to make sure everyone is informed on both sides,” Johnson adds. Because of the pandemic, some returning students are not familiar with the campus, so with some Raptor Week events being in-person helped them feel included. With the help of staff and volunteers, this semester’s Raptor Week was able to accomplish the goals that were set in mind.
“[The volunteers] were amazing because we usually have staff help out,” Johnson adds. On the first day, students who attended were given maps and snacks as well as asking any questions about the campus and Student Life. Students also received gift bags with items such as hand sanitizer, hand wipes, and face masks. 300 bags were given out on the first day, so the staff gifted t-shirts as an alternative.
Activities such as caricature and a selfie scavenger hunt helped students become more active. The scavenger hunt allowed students to find buildings around the campus, making this activity an easy way for them to be familiar with the campus. Although students were not allowed inside the buildings, this helped them become more engaged with staff. “We were able to talk to a lot more students,” Johnson adds. Student Life also introduced students to student-led opportunities such as MC LEADS and Impact MC that they can join.
Whether it is virtual or in-person [events] there are still some challenges. “We have to think of the health of faculties and students all the time. We always have to be mindful. [The pandemic] is more challenging, ” Johnson adds. Even in these conditions, Student Life has been able to organize many successful virtual and in-person events.
Germantown Student Life plans to have in-person events once or twice a week, continuing their goal of having students involved while following safety precautions. We do not know if we’ll be able to go back to normal by next year, but one thing is for sure, virtual activities and events will still continue to happen as many students enjoy them. “Even if we go back to normal, [Student Life] can’t stop the virtual [events],” Johnson adds.
Student Life continues to plan new events both virtual and in-person. To stay updated, visit their website, Instagram (stlifegt), and text “Germantown” to 766-26.