Though students are away from campus, the Student Affairs team is doing everything they can to keep everyone informed.
While a physical meeting is not currently possible, Dean of Students Christine Schneikart-Luebbe explained, “Student Affairs decided to host a town hall meeting (virtually) to continue engagement with our student body.”
She added, “We wanted to have an opportunity to check in to see how our students were managing in these unprecedented times, respond to any questions they might have and just be available to our students face to face virtually.”
Schneikart-Luebbe and Joseph Shepard, director of multicultural engagement and campus life, have hosted one meeting together so far.
“The meeting was broadcast via Facebook Live and Zoom,” said Schneikart-Luebbe. “Joseph and I were in different locations but were able to be on a split-screen to visit with our students. Students sent questions in advance, they also wrote questions during the broadcast, which we addressed live. Students could watch the feed live or later depending on their availability.”
Along with others, Schneikart-Luebbe was impressed by the number of spectators — both during the live session and after it was posted — noting that the broadcast currently has approximately 600 views.
“There were many questions about commencement, summer school and next fall. I appreciated the students who were participating live as it was fun to see their names pop up as they were watching and asking questions. It also made me truly miss our students.”
Though she is grateful for the opportunity to reach out online, to use her own words, “nothing can take the place of face to face communication.”
However, due to the convenience and positive response, Schneikart-Luebbe suggested the potential future use of online platforms for this purpose.
“We were impressed with the meeting and depending on when the stay-at-home order is lifted, and Newman resumes a more regular schedule, we would definitely consider hosting other virtual town hall meetings.”