This update was written by Seth Blunt, 2020 Union Board President, and Reilly Woehler, 2020 Summer Board Chair.
We would like to share an update on how the Union Board is approaching the summer and fall during these unprecedented times. Especially now, times are still uncertain, and many students’ anxiety and stress has yet to go away with plans for the fall still not so clear. For Union Board, we are doing our best to serve the Indiana University student body during both the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest due to the murders of black people by police.
Since March, the 111th Union Board has had to recreate our expectations and goals for the upcoming semester and the following year. As of now, we have begun working entirely remotely during the summer and holding meetings to keep each other accountable and work ahead. Especially now the main focus is on working towards uniting the Indiana University community by utilizing different methods for the summer and preparing for the fall. This includes bringing in virtual guest speakers, weekly videos, and tailoring our social media postings to focus on current events and inclusivity within our organization.
In the spring, Union Board hosted programs via Zoom some of those included a Netflix ‘n’ Chat series and a collaboration with IU Cinema to host a “Conversation with Jonathan Banks.” We even stepped out of our comfort zone to start a UB Podcast series “Unity Broadcast” which students can listen to on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
With Summer Board moving completely virtual, UB received a lot of interest from students who wanted to help program virtually. We have a total of nine students serving on Summer Board. Summer Board is focusing not only on summer virtual programs but also are building a 1:1 mentorship with a current director. This new piece of Summer Board allows for these students to learn directly from current directors with the hope to prepare them for leadership roles within Union Board in the future.
One of the first interactions for the new summer board was their retreat. Advisors created an asynchronous Canvas class and a few Zoom sessions to help build relationships and create virtual bonds with the new group of students. The retreat is where Summer Board first met each other to put names with faces and we all shared one item of importance that held a special meaning for us. It was my (Reilly’s) favorite exercise summer board did to learn about each other, and I was able to show a piece of who I was. Personally, it was scary to open up to strangers, but the thought that we would all be close friends by the end of the summer kept me going. It is definitely a difficulty to bond virtually; however, Summer Board gets together weekly in our meetings or in office hours where we can collaborate and be ourselves
Summer Board quickly took on new exciting virtual programming projects, too. With nine IU students, across 3 time zones which includes three students living in India with a nine-hour time difference, this Summer Board has quickly stepped into finding new ways to program online. For the summer, we are planning fitness challenges and competitions, book clubs, showcasing student artwork, lectures, and concerts using a variety of online platforms: Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook, and Zoom.
As we move forward and the inevitability that our year may be entirely online, ruling out large scale events (concerts, lectures, comedy), we are aiming to be more creative, innovative, and introspective to prepare the board for large scale programming and high-quality events.
Again, 2020 has tested the IU community and programming along with it. The 111th board is prepared to continue to meet our goals and impact the IU community as we continue to keep the campus moving. Thank you, and if you need any information on our current plans or upcoming events, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2020 Union Board President
2020 Summer Board Chair