SpiderBoard hosted an online event called “Find My Friends” to help University of Richmond students make social connections in a way that adhered to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines on the evening of Feb. 18.
Forty-three students attended the Zoom event, Grace McIsaac, a first-year student on SpiderBoard, said.
“Find My Friends” was promoted in a collaborative effort with SpiderBoard’s own Instagram account and the popular Instagram account Richmond Missed Connections, which provides students an anonymous way to reach out to other students at UR.
SpiderBoard was happy with the event’s attendance, McIsaac said.
“Most people don’t go to the online events because of Zoom fatigue, so having such a big turnout is really exciting for us,” she said.
The initial idea for “Find My Friends” began as “SpiderBoard Singles” and had more of a Valentine’s Day theme, said Annie Wang, a junior and SpiderBoard president. Members of SpiderBoard wanted to make the event more focused on making new friends rather than romantic connections, however, and thus changed “SpiderBoard Singles” into “Find My Friends,” Wang said.
Wang said the event was useful in light of the pandemic.
“The pandemic has really put a lot of students into social isolation,” Wang said. “People haven’t really been able to meet new people, so we wanted to use this opportunity to connect people within our community.”
One of the planned activities, McIsaac said, had been a Family Feud-style game: students answered a series of questions when signing up for the event, and then had to guess the most popular answers to the questions during the Zoom. Categories included “Best Excuses for Missing Class” and “Something You’d Hate to Find in the Shower,” she said.
Another activity was an Instagram show-and-tell, intended to give students an opportunity to talk with one another and even follow each other on social media, McIsaac and Wang said.
“It gets people past the basics of ‘Where are you from?’ and into opportunities to tell a funny story that’s behind this photo or video,” Wang said.
The third and final activity was a “hot takes” bracket, designed to encourage debate and conversation over things people felt passionate about, McIsaac said. Debaters had the option to enter one-on-one breakout rooms to engage in more personal conversations, McIsaac said.
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“We’ve heard some really good things from people who attended,” Catherine Leeder, a first-year student on SpiderBoard, said.
Leeder hopes people who attended “Find My Friends” made new friends, she said.
“I hope we can continue to host events like this,” Leeder said. “As we progress through Red Stage and into Orange Stage and beyond, we can hold events in person, because I think we can find better connections through that.”
Contact features writer Ben de Lemos at email@example.com.
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