SRU takes virtual approach in keeping students engaged outside of online classes


Student laying on a couch using a laptop

Slippery Rock University is keeping students involved outside of their online classes through virtual programming coordinated by the University’s newly formed Student Involvement Team.

April 6, 2020

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — How does a university keep its students engaged during a time when classes have gone completely online and everyone is practicing social distancing? That's the question a team of Slippery Rock University staff and students recently asked themselves in an effort to keep students involved with the University during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Our goal is to continually engage students with cocurricular activities and create a sense of community outside of their classes," said Lauren Moran, director of student engagement and leadership and chair of a 15-member, ad hoc committee called the Student Involvement Team. "This is a University-wide initiative to help keep students connected and recognize that we're still here as a campus community."

The initiative, called Virtual Involvement, consists of coordinated online programming in which students are invited to participate. Programs can either occur synchronously, such as an online trivia game or a home fitness class, or asynchronously, such as students contributing to group discussions on social media or sharing photos online to show their school spirit. The programs will be conducted online through social media platforms, such as Instagram Live or Twitter; videoconferencing applications like Zoom; and through CORE, SRU's online platform for cocurricular organizations and programs.

Lauren Moran


In addition to staff from SRU's Office for Student Engagement and Leadership, the SIT includes staff from Campus Recreation, the Office for Inclusive Excellence, Residence Life, Career Education and Development, the Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research, and others. Student leaders from the University Program Board are also part of the team and are responsible for promoting events on social media. They include Celine Halt, a senior resort, recreation and hospitality management major from Murrysville, and Trey Douyon, a senior communication major from Charleroi.

"A lot of us are missing the daily interaction that we've had with other students," said Halt, who is the UPB president. "This shows (our fellow) students that 'Hey, we're still here for you even though we might be many miles away from each other.' (Having these interactions shows that) we were here for each other while we were on campus, we are here for each other while we are away and we're going to come back even stronger."

UPB hosted a Virtual Involvement Kickoff event March 30 on Instagram Live that attracted more than 200 participants.

The format for the remainder of the spring semester will be based on different themes for each weekday: Motivation Monday (preparing for the week ahead), Talk It Out Tuesday (discussion groups, advocacy), Wellness Wednesday (fitness and other wellness programs), Think Forward Thursday (personal development) and Frenzy Friday (contests, school spirit).

Students will receive a weekly email newsletter with details about upcoming virtual events. Departments or student organizations interested in hosting a virtual event or program must complete and submit a request form that is available by clicking here. The SIT must approve any event or program to ensure that it meets the committee's guidelines and to prevent events from occurring at conflicting times.

For more information about Virtual Involvement events, click here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |