As the University moved to virtual operations, Student Activities and Involvement created the following guide to assist your organization in continuing its operations through the last few months of the semester and beyond. As you browse the guide, please keep in mind that you can email email@example.com with questions or clarifications. We’ll be providing more updates and suggestions as we progress through the semester, so check out the Student Activities & Involvement Virtual Engagement Page!
We strongly encourage you to think through ways that your organization can continue to hold meetings, either for your general body, your executive board, or for special groups and committees.
Some tips and resources for continuing meetings in a virtual format:
(Tips come from book, “The Surprising Science of Meetings” by Steven Rogelberg, for hosting efficient and effective remote meetings)
Don’t over invite. Remote meetings are hard to manage as size increases; it is always an option to record the meeting and send to members to watch on their own time or at twice the speed. Keep in mind that you do not want to make members feel excluded; give them the option to attend meetings but allow a way for them to be involved at their own time.
Sharpen the agenda. You can organize your agenda as a set of questions. This will create focus, provide a better sense of who really needs to be there, and make the meeting a success!
Active facilitation is key. Meeting leaders must draw their virtual attendees in! Avoid asking if anyone has any questions and call on people individually.
Silence does not equal understanding or agreement. There may be some awkward pauses where people are quiet. Just because people are quiet, does not mean they know what you mean or they agree with you, ask folks to verbally tell you that they agree or they understand- or utilize polling features that some apps use.
If possible, use video. Video helps create a sense of “presence” and aids attendees in staying actively engaged.
Have everyone identify themselves prior to speaking. This creates presence.
Establish some norms about what makes a good remote meeting. Create expectations, such as, keep contributions short if time is a constraint, who will speak and when, how do meetings start, how do they end?
Have instant messenger or chat room technology in place. This way attendees can notify you during the meeting if they need to speak, can’t hear you, or need something repeated.
End meetings well. Leave a few minutes at the end to clarify takeaways. Identify the person responsible for each action item if necessary, and do a quick recap of important messages.
Ask people how the meetings are going. You can send a quick survey periodically. In these surveys, you can ask what is going well, what is falling short, and ask for ideas for improvement. This can be a challenge, and might make your remote meetings different, but will be worth the time invested.
How to Connect with Others
Meet with members from afar with web-based video conferencing and online chat platforms.
WebEx– University- sponsored, recommended web conferencing tool with phone conferencing (WebEx integrates with Canvas)
- Logging in to WebEx for the first time? If you don’t already have a WebEx account, you won’t be able to access WebEx from Canvas until you create a WebEx account. Go to jmudukes.webex.com and use your JMU credentials (and DUO) to log in! Students can host meetings of up to 1000 people.
Google Meet– Web conferencing tool provided by Google
Google Chat– Team messaging with virtual rooms by Google
Slack– Team messaging app
Zoom– Video web conferencing tool, free option allows 40 min of video chat
Team Building, Bonding and Engagement
Think creatively about ways to connect and have fun with one another from afar. It is important to keep morale high within the organization to keep members engaged and feeling connected.
- Instagram Takeovers- assign an officer or member a day of the week to take over the org’s account and re-cap “a day in the life of _____”
- Tik Tok – make a fun video and challenge other orgs to do the same. Have members in your organization duet dances with each other
- General Q & A- Use social media to allow others to learn more about your organization and how to get/ stay involved
- Story Telling- Share pictures and videos letting others know what you did and accomplished this past year. Share stories of your officers, members, and advisor(s)
- Play virtual games/do different activities with each other:
- Trivia Crack
- Jack Box Games
- Have members download Houseparty app- video chat app that allows you to play games within the format
- Android and iPhone compatible
- Virtual Trivia
- Host a virtual bingo game
- Host a Netflix Party
- Have a peanut butter pie bake off! (Allergies allowing)
- Contribute to a collaborative playlist. Create a playlist of the day, inviting everyone to listen to a set of songs curated by each other
- Dance Parties – dedicate some time each day or week to virtual dance parties!
- YouTube Video of the Day / Week
- Hobby Webinar – participants learn something new and the experienced hobbyists will get some fun and teaching experiences
- CHECK OUT THIS LIST FOR MORE FUN IDEAS
- Virtual Ice Breakers
- And more here!!!
- Check out what today’s holidays are and have club members post a pic or response to it in your group chats
Cancelled/ Postponed Spring Events and Travel
- Contact vendors to let them know your plans to cancel/ postpone: catering, speakers, printing services, etc.
- Organize and/or share any planning documents so that you can easily access them next year or when you are ready to plan for a later date
End of Year Celebrations, Recognition and Awards
While your organization may not have an in-person End of Year event, we encourage you to think about how your organization can still celebrate, honor, and recognize members and accomplishments of the organization.
Some ideas to think about and consider:
- Host a virtual banquet or ceremony
- Consider live- streaming a virtual version of the event on social media or on a web-based video conferencing platform
- Shoutout accomplishments on social media platforms
- Mail out any recognition items your organization planned to distribute
- Find creative ways to recap the year and share out all the great things your organization did this year
- Use Canva to create an infographic
- Show your creativity on TikTok and recap your year through a video
- Have fun with this! Everyone is adapting right now, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to create the *Perfect* virtual event or activity. The opportunity alone for your organization to stay connected to each other this semester can be a great benefit to the organization!
Your organization will still want to hold elections that were planned to occur this semester. Luckily, there is an effective way to do it through BeInvolved. There was an email that has been sent out about more information on this. You can also see more information on this tutorial.
- Do a test run to be sure you are familiar with the process and how results are shared
- Make sure you are following your constitution’s guidelines and procedures for nominations and elections as accurately as possible
- Update your roster on BeInvovled to reflect your current membership and accurate leadership positions
- Share election results with your group virtually using email, social media, etc.
If your organization transitions to new officers before the fall semester, think about how the organization can facilitate a successful transition virtually. Below are some tips and resources for making that transition as smooth as possible:
- Adapt any conversations/ activities to online communication
- Outgoing and new officers meet from afar with web-based video conferencing and online chat platforms such as WebEx, Google Hangouts, Google Chats, Zoom, and more
- Share transition materials and documents through email, or BeInvolved or shared Google Drive Remind the new officer of any planning that typically happens during the summer. Share a list of important dates with the new officer including: Student Organization Night, timelines for intake, etc.
- Reach out to Outriggers, a program offered through the Student Activities and Involvement, that provides peer to peer assistance on topics like communication, team building, and transitions! (email at Outriggers@jmu.edu)
- Outriggers is available to chat via WebEx, Zoom, or Google Hangout!
Annual registration opens every spring semester in April. Every organization will go through annual registration by having the primary contact or an exec member of that organization update the Be Involved profile. Watch for emails and notifications from BeInvolved for more information! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!
Support and Advising Meetings
Who to Contact with Specific Questions
Coordinator of Student Organization Development
- Functionality of clubs and orgs
- General Club support
Coordinator of Student Organization Management
- Org paperwork: Registration, Banking Help, etc
- Dolley Awards
Graduate Assistant for Student Organizations
- Ideas for engagement
- General Club support