Anti-social engagement


Cullen Smith

The Student Engagement Center uses Zoom and other online platforms to keep students interacting in the midst of a pandemic.

Did I remember to turn my camera off? This question plagues HSU students who are begrudgingly getting ready for their online lectures.


Most students are quite familiar with how online platforms are being used for class, but HSU is also using these platforms for entertainment aspects. The staff at the Student Engagement Center have used online platforms to make social events viable.


“Before COVID-19 we were already using some virtual mediums to reach out to students so they could be connected,” assistant vice president for student engagement Dr. Veronikha Salazar said. “But COVID emphasized the need for virtual platforms like Zoom, Google Hangout, Skype, and Facebook.”


Salazar also noted that her staff had to branch out to online avenues of which they “hadn’t paid much attention to before COVID-19.”


Salazar explained that she had seen an increase in engagement, specifically mentioning Student Government. She explains that, “since everyone has a cellphone, laptop, or iPad with Wi-Fi, you can login from wherever you are.”


Usually, the student senators have to be in a room in-person for their attendance to count, but now “…they can even login from Texas if they went home.” The lax attendance combined with the convenience of online platforms makes it very easy for students to come to online meetings and get to the point, which Salazar describes as both a pro and a con.


“There isn’t any interpersonal interaction, no comradery beforehand or afterwards, it’s not personal like a back and forth . . . but a pro is that you start meetings and end them on time because it is so to the point,” Salazar said.


HSU has also been able to make a wide variety of “social” events happen this year with the aid of online platforms.


“I think it’s a good way to get students involved because most of our events were previously in-person,” vice president of Student Affairs Jeremiah Hatley said. “That our Student Engagement Center is trying to find ways to do things virtually, it’s a really good idea.”


While there have not been any new events added, Hatley noted that there had been a significant increase in attendance. As it turns out, college students can really get behind classes and events where they do not have to leave their rooms.