As Concord Academy will remain completely virtual until the January re-opening, the Student Life Office has been finding ways to bring the community together when we are all separated from one another. From virtual bingo to helping host Club Expo, the Student Life Office has been especially active this year, and is looking for ways to keep the student body engaged at a virtual level.
Brett Kelly, Student Activities Coordinator, reflects on past virtual events as well as to discuss future events that he hopes the community will enjoy. When school is virtual, the goal of the office is to promote and host at least one event per weekend. However, this can be challenging because of the need to accommodate different time zones, so Kelly tries to split the events between Friday and Saturday openings. While this might present barriers, Kelly explains that the more difficult aspect of social events is to gauge interest. “Some events are incredibly popular like the Junior Talent show, the Opening Weekend social, and Virtual Breakroom,” he says, “[But] some events did not meet the interest that we thought they would reach.”
In solving this problem, Brett has tried to identify why some events do not gain a lot of attention. “Perhaps the awareness of the event was not big enough, or the timing was off, or maybe the event itself wasn’t as appealing as we thought it was.” When working around these factors, the Student Life Office tries its best to not only create events that would draw a good crowd, but also events that they know students would really enjoy. The office works with other independent schools to “constantly exchange ideas,” see what works, and find new ways to bring the community together.
The main point of these events is to “give a chance for students to interact outside of the classroom,” in Kelly’s words. He also invites students to submit their own ideas to the Student Life Office, emphasizing, “the best ideas come from the students themselves.” Looking ahead, Kelly is finding new ways to reinvent Winterfest (the all-school winter festival) to appeal to both in person and online audiences. In the end, Kelly wants to share that many events are being planned, and that if the Student Life Office can get some student input, then more events could be planned that all can enjoy.