Valdosta State’s Student Engagement Efforts Continue During Global Pandemic

By Jessica Pope 

Valdosta State University News 

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s Campus Activities Board, or CAB, is on a mission to enrich the virtual college experience by offering students a variety of activities designed to promote a bit of fun and a renewed connection to the Blazer Nation community.  

“We want students to know that CAB is still here,” said Shari Alfred, programming coordinator with VSU’s Office of Student Life. “Although VSU moved to an online teaching and learning module during the second half of spring semester and will continue the same throughout the summer due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, we still want to give students an opportunity to be engaged outside of their online classes like we do when they are taking face-to-face classes on campus. This is so important for us because our students are dealing with lots of changes and uncertainty right now, and we want to do our part to help them be successful.” 

One of the most popular spring semester activities was Stuff-A-Plush. Students were able to choose from 10 different furry friends, each with its own Quarantine Buddy T-shirt and bag of stuffing. The kits were shipped directly to students, and before long CAB started receiving photos of smiling faces with stuffed animals in homes across the country. 

“Stuff-A-Plush was inspired by our desire to help students feel a little less isolated while sheltering in place and practicing social distancing,” Alfred said. 

During spring semester, CAB also hosted Instagram Live dance parties with Brian “DJ Slim” Bogues, a mass media major from Lithonia, Georgia; Instagram Live cooking tutorials with Amber Princella Darrisaw, a marketing major from Thomasville, Georgia; Netflix Party movie nights; and opportunities to order custom street signs, license plates, and face masks.

Alfred said that all of the activities reached maximum capacity within minutes of their release. CAB expects that trend to continue throughout the summer as more activities are announced. 

“Vendors that we work with to execute these programs mentioned that VSU has some of the most active student participation for virtual programming when compared to other schools they work with,” she added. 

“It’s very exciting and quite surprising that our virtual programming has been so popular with students,” said Nigeria Jackson, a finance major from Savannah, Georgia, who serves as executive director of VSU’s Campus Activities Board. “We are very happy that our fellow students haven’t forgotten about us.” 

VSU’s Campus Activities Board consists of 75 student volunteers led by a three-person student executive team — Jackson; Lauryn White, an interdisciplinary studies major from Savannah, Georgia, who serves as special events director; and Shy’dasha Speight, a healthcare administration major from St. Petersburg, Florida, who serves as movie director. 

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