A student signs up for a club as student organizations and clubs hosted tables at the Involvement Expo August 29, 2019 at Washington & Jefferson College.

Thriving Together: W&J Student Organizations Maintain Community Ties with Virtual Resources

Created: April 28, 2020  |  Last Updated: October 5, 2021  |  Category:   |  Tagged: , , ,

WASHINGTON, PA (April 28, 2020)—It’s easy to feel disconnected from our communities and routines during quarantine and social distancing. At Washington & Jefferson College (W&J), though, connection is always on the minds of our faculty, staff, and students, and this community goes the extra mile to take care of each other.

Many of W&J’s student clubs and organizations are continuing to meet or offer resources and entertainment to their peers during our remote learning period.

Continuing to meet is about providing a place to feel safe for groups like W&J’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), who are staying connected through a group on the social media application Discord.

“The GSA's core objective is to create a safe environment for LGBTQ+ students on our campus through meetings, programming, and activism. However, during the remote learning period, we understand that many of our members might be forced into living situations where they cannot fully or safely express their identities,” said GSA President Alex York ’20. “We think our organization's work is essential during this crisis, as it not only helps our members fight off feelings of isolation, but also allows them the space to be themselves that they might be lacking right now.”

For others, health and wellness are a prime focus. During the quarantine period, many students are looking for ways to stay active even when they can’t go to a gym or fitness center. Lucy Elkin ’20 is here to support those students through Vinyasa Yoga club, which she founded as a freshman in 2016. Every week, Lucy uploads a new Yoga flow to her YouTube channel and sends weekly emails to club members and others with tips for positivity and mental wellness.

“I think it was important to keep providing people with an outlet to exercise, breathe, find some calm, and do something fun during this strange time,” Lucy said. “So far I have gotten really good feedback on my videos and messages. A few professors have thanked me and use the material for their own yoga practice, and I have had various students thank me or ask to be added to the weekly email list if they weren’t already.”

And for all the groups, providing an outlet for entertainment and connection is the primary goal. Jarret McCracken ’21, a Vice President of W&J’s Super Smash Bros. Club, said it best.

“The remote instruction period is new to all of us and it has been very stress-inducing for a lot of people. We formed this club for a sense of community and to combat student stress. In a time where we have to social isolate, we can still enjoy the company of friends through online platforms,” he said. “We hope that everyone stays safe, and if they need to relax for a bit, there is an open line of communication between our members, so they can connect with each other and play games on their schedule. In times like this, that connection is extremely important, and we look forward to continuing to help our members alleviate stress.”

Want to see more examples of how clubs are staying connected during our remote learning period? Check out the photo gallery below!

This article is part of Thriving Together, a series of articles and videos showcasing the ways in which W&J community members are here for each other during this unprecedented time. Read other articles in the series in the W&J News Section.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.