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Office of Student Life builds remote student community

Students won’t sacrifice community spirit while separated.

Janel Shoun-Smith | 615.966.7078  | 

Student Life Dean Al Sturgeon speaks with student on the Lipscomb campus

Al Sturgeon, dean of student life (second from right), and his team in the Office of Student Life are working hard to help students establish routine and maintain community.

Lipscomb University’s Office of Student Life is pulling out every remote tool in its technology tool belt this spring to make sure that Lipscomb’s undergraduate students continue to feel part of a close-knit community despite a spring semester put on hold by COVID-19 quarantine.

Establishing a routine and maintaining community are the two top goals for this office, said Al Sturgeon, dean of student life, who began sending daily emails to students last week. 

“Lipscomb has top-quality educators working to help students achieve their academic goals from their homes despite a semester that was curtailed on March 23, so our top goal in Student Life is to help students continue to experience the benefits of the community they have developed among their friends and classmates on campus,” said Sturgeon.

Fortunately, many social groups such as social clubs, intercultural organizations and service chapters have strong social media venues for interaction, and the student life staff remains personally available to students to handle students’ needs by phone or electronic communication.

Beyond that, however, the office is also providing these weekly opportunities for students to “get together” remotely:

  • Each Monday students will receive the Have You Herd email, which outlines all the week’s remote gathering opportunities.
  • Tuesday brings today’s version of chapel, The (Virtual) Gathering, in video form.
  • Each Wednesday, the Community Life office and the Student Activities Board will feature a community-building opportunity, such as a virtual trivia night carried out through Kahoot and live video.
  • Each Thursday a new podcast will serve as the breakout chapel offering, and the Campus Recreation department will announce a new physical activity workout in the Lipscomb GAINS Challenge (Greatness Achieved in new Settings).
  • On Friday, a special event will be featured, such as a special video tribute to Singarama, which had to be canceled due to quarantine measures.

In addition, the Spiritual Formation office has provided several “sacred distancing” resources such as direction on carrying out a spiritual practice each week and a way for students to write their own blog story, submit prayer requests, sign up to participate in a Zoom-powered communal prayer and make an appointment with a campus minister.

“The Student Life office is also hosting the Social Distance Story Time video contest (where groups of five students create their own video from five different locations) and a remote version of Service Day, the spring semester’s annual service event for the whole student body,” Sturgeon said.