Student Life has expanded what the student experience is and how they engage with UT students after all classes went online in March.
The traditional student experience with Student Life includes attending events and participating in competitions. But when classes were moved online following the COVID-19 pandemic, Student Life staff were charged with creating new student experiences, experiences that could be done from a student’s home.
Several offices have taken advantage of trivia games that allow for those located around the country to participate with their friends. Offices such as the Center for Student Engagement (CSE) and Multicultural Student Life (MSL) have already held several trivia events that have helped keep other students connected.
MSL held the first trivia event on March 25, focusing on Women’s History Month. “Our Women’s History Month trivia went very well,” says coordinator for MSL, Aaron Dixon. “The idea of trivia was that it would allow us to engage with students virtually and an educational component of women’s history. As we continue our efforts to engage with students virtually, we will look for different ways to market and moderate our events. Events to look out for are our Latinx themed Jugar Bingo on April 1, Black Cultural Bingo on April 8, and an Asian heritage trivia game on April 15!”
“A trivia is a fun event where students can participate with their friends and family from the comfort of their home to take a break from school-work and relax,” says assistant director for the CSE, Jordan Smith-Porter. “We have so many other events other than just trivia, we are having a comedian at the end of April, a virtual speed sketch artist who will draw a self-portrait for students, and even continuing the CSE’s Adulting 101 series.”
For more virtual events, visit calendar.utk.edu/ves.
Virtual Office Hours and Community Spaces
Typically, office hours allow you to get some one-on-one time with a professor or professional. The offices utilizing virtual office hours are following a similar format, but also providing you with the opportunity to socialize with your friends as well! The Pride Center is offering office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-3 p.m. The center is also offering a community space through Discord.
Health & Wellness
Health and wellness continue to be a top priority here at UT, from fitness to mental wellbeing, to health-related programming. Offices such as RecSports and the Center for Health Education and Wellness (CHEW) are shifting their programming to an online format: RecSports will be hosting virtual fitness classes nearly every day and CHEW will be hosting the Sixth Annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month on several online platforms.
The Student Health Center and Student Counseling Center are partnering up to offer you telemedicine: a virtual form of their health services. More information will be available soon, so be on the lookout for that information.
Student Life offices have been working to ensure that all students and their own support systems have the tools and resources they need in order to be successful. The Office of the Dean of Students, Student Disability Services (SDS), and Family Programs have taken up the challenge to help you through a variety of programs.
Many students require the services that SDS provides and luckily, the work provided by SDS hasn’t shifted too much! “SDS is still operational and is available to students who may need accommodations based on the impact of a disability,” says director of SDS, David Ndiaye. “The main difference is our meetings are held virtually and not in person. We are also available to faculty as a resource.”
Dean of Students has also re-envisioned how they help students. From 974-HELP to Big Orange Meal Share, Dean of Students is here to help you, whether you’re still in Knoxville or back home with family. Milkshake Mondays are now virtual, and students can schedule a virtual consultation with the Office of the Dean of Students staff.
If you are in distress and need to support from a caseworker, give 974-HELP a call and speak to someone who can connect you to the resources you need. This referral line was developed to help distressed or distressing students reach their academic goals and to help maintain a safe community and learning environment for all students. 947-HELP is a safe and private way to share a concern for a fellow Vol and a way for students to get help for themselves.
Family Programs is dedicated to supporting those who support a UT student. Through the Parents Association, Family Programs is dedicated to keeping your family informed on updates from UT and provide them with ways they can help you succeed. Families can stay-up-to-date and subscribe to the Parents Association Newsletter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.