Since the start of the 2020 spring quarter, Associated Students Incorporated (ASI) Events has offered a variety of virtual experiences to students, ranging from small scale games to keynote presentations and discussions.
Some of the events included a virtual escape room and puzzle mastery game before the start of fall classes, a trivia night series and links to virtual museum and landmark tours, animal webcams and podcasts.
During Week of Welcome (WOW), ASI held a virtual “Welcome Back Concert” and Q&A with indie pop band AJR over Zoom.
ASI Events worked with a production company to enhance the concert’s sound and video, giving the production a more in-person feel, according to ASI Program Coordinator Missi Allison-Bullock.
Business administration senior and musical entertainment student assistant for ASI Events Amber Olson said she chose AJR because they seemed to embody the cheerfulness she was looking for.
“They were super fun, they put on even better of a show than I even expected,” Olson said. “They were super engaging, the students asked really great questions, so that was a really fun one.”
ASI Events and the Black Academic Excellence Center hosted “The Cost of a Revolution: An Evening with Patrisse Cullors and the Family of George Flyod,” at the end of September.
Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, gave a keynote speech and Angela Harrelson and Selwyn Jones, George Flyod’s aunt and uncle, participated in a moderated discussion with students.
“They absolutely hit the mark as far as the conversation and answering the questions that students were wondering about, as far as Black Lives Matter issues or any of the race questions that students are having,” Allison-Bullock said.
Approximately 450 students, faculty and staff attended the presentation, industry management senior and Student Manager of ASI Events Nick Price said in an email to Mustang News.
“Flex Your Right: Voter Education Week,” put on by ASI Events in collaboration with ASI Student Government, registered about 1,000 students to vote, according to Olson.
The week began with “Flex Your Right Trivia Night,” featured a cooking show with TikTok star Tabitha Brown and ended with “A Leadership and Civic Engagement Conversation with Shereen Marisol Meraji.”
Co-host of the podcast “Code Switch,” Meraji took part in a Q&A with students, speaking on voter issues and race relations, according to Allison-Bullock.
Tabitha Brown taught students how to make a vegan meal and participated in a Q&A, while also giving advice on mental health, Allison-Bullock said.
“She is just a super dynamic and positive personality, so that event was really cool,” Allison-Bullock said. “She was motivational and inspirational for students with mental health and just issues of feeling isolated … and that’s a lot of what we’re finding students need at this point.”
Allison-Bullock continued on to explain that she understands why students choose not to attend some of the events, being that most students are on Zoom for the vast majority of each day.
However, attendance is not ASI Events’ sole measure of success, Olson said.
“It’s really based on what people got out of the event,” Olson said. “If there are 50 people at an event, but they all got something really meaningful out of it or got to ask a question to someone that means a lot to them, or something like that, then that’s really what success is to us.”
Out of the approximately 1,300 students who have participated in ASI Events this quarter, 80% have been “extremely satisfied” with their experience, according to Price.
As for the rest of the year, ASI Events has several plans in the making.
“I can’t tell you exactly yet, but we have some comedians hopefully, some music, some speakers and Q&A’s, some smaller trivia night-esk events,” Olson said. “Kind of just a mix of everything, that’s what we’re trying to do all year, mixing up days and times that we do things, trying to, again, be there for students and try and put on some interesting events that are worthwhile for them.”