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UNC Reaching Out to Students Online with Entertainment, Community Connections

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April 9, 2020

With campus closed and classes being taught through online delivery methods for the remainder of the semester, the University of Northern Colorado is creating new ways to help with student success and engagement.

Jaqueline Villegas, UNC’s director of Strategic Engagement for the Division of Student Affairs and an adjunct professor for the School of Art and Design, has implemented new ways to continue working toward student-learning outcomes.

JJ Villegas“I have about 10 student employees who are doing amazing things and eager to step up and help me with implementing some of these ideas,” Villegas said. “As a team, we asked ourselves what are some of the things other students would want to know, what are some of the fears, what are some of the things they’re used to doing together as a community, and what are some tips that might help others through their program and time away from in-person interaction.”

Villegas’ students are creating a monthly student-to-student newsletter that features a short video and links to important information. Additionally, they’ve created a campaign called “#UNCBears share #WithUS” for other students to share videos of their ideas, tips and ways to transition to online classes, as well as solutions on how everyone is in this together.

“Our biggest project right now is coming up with information to deliver to our students,” Adrian Bugarin, a student employee who works with Villegas, said. “We are doing a set of videos as well as social media posts that can entertain students, as well as working hard to keep them engaged and not frustrated with their living situation.”

Bear Connection video with students

Damara Goodloe, another student employee, says she hopes the video will help students feel that other students can relate to them, and advises students to take this time to self-reflect.

“For the video, we’re showing students what we’re doing during quarantine and inserting some tips on how we maintain our workspace,” Goodloe said. “I hope that the video will help students through connecting to one another. It is a hard time for all of us, but by normalizing our adjustments, I hope that we can find peace out of this transition.”

According to Villegas, each unit in the Division of Student Affairs is working on ways to continue building awareness around culture, student support, staying healthy and getting career advice:

  • UNC’s Campus Recreation staff is providing online workouts and fitness challenges through Instagram.
  • The Center for Career Readiness is providing virtual career counseling.
  • The Office of Student Organizations is working on a project called, “United to Nurture Our Community: A Card Campaign,” that involves sending cards to at-risk populations during the pandemic.
  • UNC is also hosting live concerts on Instagram, study tables in collaboration with academic and cultural services, and the Assault Survivors Advocacy Program is working on an interactive campaign to build awareness around Sexual Assault Awareness Month throughout April.

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“The situation we’re in has presented new ways of being innovative, creative problem-solvers, providing a helping hand and communicating,” Villegas said. “It’s an unfortunate situation, but it’s helping students, faculty and staff come together in new, meaningful ways.”

—Written by Mackenzie Eldred


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