Student Engagement

Delivering the Chapman Experience in a Virtual World Even fully remote, students can still enjoy a rich tapestry of experiences beyond the classroom.

Students can still enjoy a rich tapestry of experiences beyond the physical campus.

As fall semester nears, the faculty and administration at Chapman University have been hard at work preparing our rigorous and meaningful academic offerings to be available through remote learning. 

But students here know there is much more to a Chapman education than going to classes. 

“The Chapman experience is a holistic one,” says Chris Hutchison, Ph.D., assistant dean of students. “In addition to the renowned faculty and the academic excellence that you’re going to be getting here, there are a variety of co-curricular opportunities that really help make your educational journey at Chapman as full as it can be. We are planning on making sure many of those opportunities remain available, no matter where we find ourselves this fall.”  

Delivering the Chapman Experience to students remotely has been challenging, but it’s not optional. Students expect to participate in a variety of social and civic activities, and campus leadership wants to ensure that even if classes must go entirely remote, students will still be able to partake of a diverse tapestry of opportunities that makes attending a four-year university so rewarding.

How to Get Involved on Campus Even When You’re Remote

While the exact format of many events has yet to be decided, the Department of Student Engagement has created a website to guide students towards the activities that can be meaningful and rewarding for them. “Regardless of the format, many of the experiences that students rely upon, we’ll still be offering them,” says Hutchison.  

 Some of the events students can look forward to in the fall include:

  • The annual Student Involvement Fair, where students can learn about the many student organizations they can get involved with while at Chapman.
  • Programs and services provided by the Student Union, including virtual movie nights, poetry nights, Together, In the Union events, virtual gallery exhibits, and shared work-at-home playlists and podcasts.
  • An active civic engagement campaign leading up to the 2020 election, with an array of experiences planned to promote voter registration and participation, and to deliver awareness and education about the different issues and initiatives that are on the ballot or are being talked about in the campaign.
  • Heritage and awareness months hosted by the Cross Cultural Center, which allow students to celebrate and better understand different identities in our community.
  • Fraternities and sororities will continue to operate, and the fraternity council and fraternity presidents are in the process of deciding how recruitment could be conducted in hybrid or virtual circumstances. 
  • Virtual fitness and recreation programs, which have proven very successful during the spring and summer will continue in the fall, with fitness on demand, group classes, live events and more.  

Building Meaningful Connections Beyond the Classroom

Building on lessons learned during spring semester, the Student Engagement team will be able to tailor fall events according to what has already proved successful. Live performances by student groups, for example, consistently drew large online audiences during the spring. Instagram Live and Instagram TV have also proven to be popular platforms for student engagement. Last week’s question from the virtual Global Citizen’s Wall received more responses than it has all year from the in-person version in the Student Union. 

Ultimately, it is up to the students to decide how they will connect and engage with the campus community, and Hutchison encourages students to make sure their Chapman Experience includes the meaningful out-of-class opportunities that complement their curriculum.

“It’s important that you’re doing things to remain connected with one another and stay engaged with the activities and experiences you find fulfilling and enjoyable. Look for new avenues for getting involved in campus, and throughout society. All the experiences that we’re offering will give you the chance to do that,” he says.

The Fall 2020 Programming & Resources website will serve as a hub for finding activities and events taking place throughout the semester. Students can also find contact information and are encouraged to reach out if they have ideas for events or activities they would like to have available, or questions about anything listed.

Staci Dumoski