By Seth Blunt, 2020 Union Board President
Hello, as you may know, the Indiana University community has been greatly affected by the current pandemic. With students moving off-campus, classes moving online, and events being canceled and rescheduled, it seems as if we are having to put life on hold. During this historic transition, we are all learning ways to re-create community and maintain normalcy while also “flattening the curve.” For college students like me, this unexpected journey has taken us all by surprise.
As the current president of Union Board, along with my executive team and advisors, we have worked to engage directors who are now spread across the nation, starting with our first virtual Union Board meeting through Zoom on March 25th. After a two-week break, followed by a return to class online from a remote location, this transition back feels as if we are starting a brand-new semester and not returning to our current one. All students, including Union Board directors, are having to navigate stress and anxiety on top of relearning how to attend class. For Union Board leaders, we are also still upholding our responsibility to the Indiana University student body and community.
With all of these changes, the Board is now faced with new challenges and adversity, as we work out new versions of internal systems, like budgeting and summer board selection over Zoom, while working to create campus community with students spread around the globe. Since on-campus programs during the summer are canceled, we are looking at how summer directors can grow professionally and still work on events. As we recruit summer directors online and brainstorm how we can set up this group of directors for success, we are putting more emphasis on collaboration between the current directors and the summer board directors.
As we begin our new schedules, we are re-evaluating our expectations and goals to adjust to a remote work environment. Having lost a week of classes and moving online, the semester is ending sooner than we may think. With only five more weekly board meetings left, we are left to think about how we can utilize this time. Last week, the Board has passed 3 virtual programs to create community and engagement that IU students may be lacking: a conversation with IU alumnus Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) co-sponsored, an event to promote IU spirit, and an art-making program. In this unprecedented time, we look to experiment with new ideas to reach students to build morale. Meanwhile, other Union Board committees are working hard to reschedule events to the fall, if they can, as well as plan fall programs.
At the end of the day, I truly believe we will overcome this journey along with the entire world by focusing on the future and staying positive. We want to return to campus stronger this fall.
2020 Union Board