Student ingenuity on display at virtual Activities Night

Activities Night has come and gone once again, but this year, there was no standing in line, no Martlet stamps, and no bustling fieldhouse. Activities Night, along with McGill’s many other annual events, was held entirely virtually. On Sept. 9 and 10, students of all years and faculties logged on to learn about the various clubs and organizations that McGill has to offer. As has become the “new normal,” Activities Night was held online through Eventus.io, a virtual career fair service platform that was repurposed to allow each club to show off their services and opportunities to interested students. 

There were 304 clubs in attendance, hosting virtual booths that students could click through to learn more about their missions and future plans. Many clubs, including SSMU Musicians Collective, MealCare McGill, and McGill Students Knitting Club, made promotional videos to outline how they function and how to get involved. Each club also clearly explained how they planned to make the most of their shift to online meetings, events, and fundraisers. Links to Facebook events and signup sheets made it easy to learn about upcoming meetings and activities. The switch to online Activities Night required more work from club members and executives, but the extra effort made for a remarkably engaging experience. 

Club leaders are eager to be back into the swing of things. Many executives spent their summers preparing virtual activities and fundraisers to give new and returning members the best online experience. Danielle Fuchs, U3 Arts, President of Challah for Hunger, is optimistic about her organization’s plans for this semester.

Usually, Challah for Hunger bakes challah in person with dozens of volunteers five times per semester,” Fuchs said. “Then, we sell the challah in various buildings on campus to raise money for charities that fight food insecurity throughout North America.” 

Now that Challah for Hunger has moved completely online, they have had to rethink how their club will function and how they can do the most good while keeping everyone safe. For Fuchs, this means virtual challah bakes and donation-based events like movie nights and workshops. 

Conversely, some clubs have been able to continue with relatively few changes. Democrats Abroad (DA) Vice-President of Communications Cameron Leonard, U3 Arts, is confident about DA’s ability to stay true to their mission. One of the club’s main activities throughout the school year is phone banking, which was an easy virtual transition. 

“[We’ve] hosted several remote phone banking events over Zoom, in which we got together and made calls to American citizens to assist them with requesting their absentee ballots,” Leonard said. “This is not a significant change from the way that we have operated in the past, [as] the only change here is that we are hosting the events virtually.”

 

DA’s strategies for advertisement were not much different from previous years: They created a video for their virtual booth, where they were able to creatively present their organization’s goals, much as they would have in-person. DA has planned for more online events over the course of the semester, and were excited to have the opportunity to share these plans at Activities Night.

The McGill Women in Computer Science Team (McWiCS) shared a similar sentiment. McWiCS Co-President Heather Bosiljevac, U3 Science, is enthusiastic about the club’s ability to successfully transition online. The club was grateful for the opportunity to reach out to those who might have normally shied away from computer science, in hopes of bringing some fresh faces to the upcoming Zoom events. 

Our main goal for Activities Night is simply to get our name out there and invite people to follow us on social media and attend our events,” Bosiljevac said. “Overall, we are really just trying to continue helping people feel more comfortable in [computer science] at McGill, especially incoming first year [students] who may be nervous starting at a new school in this environment.” 

 

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