Bridging the gap between student engagement and student organizations can be very difficult with the COVID-19 pandemic ever-present. Limitations like social distancing have challenged universities across the country to switch to remote learning. Now, the executive boards of student organizations are forced to dig deeper and become more creative when it comes to keeping their members active.
One organization, Planned Parenthood Generation Action, has enjoyed success this semester coming up with ideas and activities for its members. On Oct. 24, they hosted “Trick or Beat,” a virtual phone banking event using the Zoom platform.
With virtual events and meetings becoming the new norm, some students and faculty still prefer face to face communication. Applications like Zoom and Cisco Webex Meetings have helped keep the connections between students, staff and their peers.
On Oct. 3, the organization held another virtual phone banking and “Mean Girls” watch party, and volunteers received hours for their time. Volunteers were also able to text bank so that they could enjoy the movie while working.
“We’re phone banking to get more voting participation,” said Shelday Jules, Gen. Action’s co-campaign manager. “We’re trying to make it fun so that it can reach the youth.”
They also had a “Let’s Talk about Joe” presentation during the event, where the members discussed Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign points. Since the group decided that as a whole they are pro-Biden, it’s important that every member is informed on his platform.
On Oct. 7, WTXL reported that the local Planned Parenthood facility on Tennessee Street had announced that it will be offering transgender services. According to witnesses, there have been protesters standing outside the facility with signs against abortion.
Generation Action had its first general body meeting for the fall 2020 semester on Oct. 15. The group is anticipating furthering the “Let’s Talk About Joe” conversation, but this time with more participants.
“Although COVID-19 curtailed a lot of our pre-planned events, we knew that service by way of education to our community was something that could not be compromised,” said Crishelle Bailey, Generation Action president. “We understood that if we were to sit idle and let time pass, legislators would take our silence as complicity.”
This Halloween, Gen. Action is hosting a costume contest and phone banking event from 3 to 6 p.m. Students looking to complete virtual volunteer hours with Generation Action can visit https://forms.gle/wKBag6pr5uFDNezh6.