Author Archives: M

Let’s Make a Pie

by Nicole Hindes

Let’s make a pie.

With that simple sentence, I’ve invited you into a collaboration, but I haven’t actually asked if you want to make a pie with me. Do you also want to make a pie? How will we proceed? What norms and patterns will guide us – and what can intentionality help provide for us? At Indiana University, where I completed my Higher Education and Student Affairs master’s program, we often spoke about how important it is to be intentional in our practice, both in completing the work, and in how we showed up relationally with our students and colleagues. We used intentionality to further goals of student development and dignify relationship norms. “Be intentional” was a repeated refrain inside of my graduate experience. Intentionality is a powerful ingredient we can bring to our pie making effort and how we approach our work together.

So, we’ve chosen to make a pie, together. Both of us are in the place of wanting pie and wanting each other to be involved in the effort.

Is the pie the only thing we care about? How do we want our experience of pie making to be? How will our relationship be impacted by this experience of pie making?

One of the things that helps me find my way to intentionality in my practice at OSU is to look at an experience through a metaphor. We can use our experience of pie-making to deepen understanding about who we are in collaborations with others and build understanding about choices between us in how we will make this pie that illuminates patterns of collaboration and choices that aren’t limited to pie-making. We can also look at roles common inside of academia to consider how these roles, in archetypical form, constrain our access to choices.

If a Professor archetype is collaborating on a pie, we might see the busy professor ask that the pie crust be made ahead of time, expecting (or assuming) a level of base knowledge before deciding what will go in the crust. The professor might use communication norms that assert expertise and authority about the quality of the pie ingredients or the best way to make a pie. The professor may not see that their assertive claims make it too risky for the other to suggest an unusual, but also delicious, gluten-free crust.

Similarly, if a Campus Leader archetype is collaborating on a pie, we might come to the meeting about pie making and see that person set the timeline and predetermine the output expectations (‘traditional cherry’ or ‘key lime’). That person might not see how their suggested ideas or preferences could be heard as expectations that are limiting opportunities to consider the seasonality of fruit, the recipes preferred by the bakers, or understanding that there is a backlog of cakes that have been ordered.

If a New Student archetype is collaborating on a pie, they may be relating from a place of insecurity, unsure that pie in Corvallis is the same as pie in their hometown. They may not know how to bring up the shepherd’s pie they loved eating at their grandfather’s house. They may not know that the blackberry bushes in their backyard can be a valuable contribution to our pie-making goals.

Because archetypes and metaphors are so powerful to the human experience and how we make meaning of the world, we often find ourselves playing out scripts or norms of what dominant culture prescribes as normal. We can do this knowingly to find belonging – or unconsciously because we’re busy and operating as if on autopilot. Because we do our work inside of academia, there are some ways that norms and patterns might prescribe for us how to approach our pie making. These may or may not serve our goals. If we’re not intentional, we might find ourselves communicating or planning in a way that limits the possible pies we could cook up together.

So, remember that I want to make a pie with you? I have some ingredients, some experience and some challenging limitations getting a flaky crust. What ingredients do you have? What experience do you bring? Do you want to work together? What will our conversations be as we make this pie? After we make and consume the pie, how will our relationship have changed? What will that mean for future fruit harvests? Did my choices in relating with you create the context for you to trust me enough to tell me about your grandpa’s shepherd’s pie?

I’ll never forget asking a peer “how do you like to approach collaborations?” and seeing reflected back to me, in her response, how rarely she was asked that question. When I practice intentional collaboration with a group, I might use agendas and meeting design to create the context for collaboration that works for me, the team and our goals. If there’s anyone new to OSU or meeting each other for the first time in the collaboration, I might spend a meaningful chunk of the first meeting (30 minutes!) to build relationships and trust with the group. I like to choose conversation topics and questions that encourage everyone to share about prior roles, strengths and skills that may not be evident based on title or positionality. I’m practicing how to create a brainstorming or idea-generating process that ensures everyone—especially those with less social or positional power—have opportunities to contribute to the vision and approach of the project. Along the way, I try to promote conversation that builds understanding about everyone as whole people with lives outside of roles at OSU.

The pies we make will get eaten and enjoyed. The connections we make when we bake together will be the nourishment that resources us both for years to come. Do you want to make a pie with me?

ASC & Writing Center Staff Picks

The middle of the term can be a challenging time for students—especially as midterms begin and schedules get even busier than they already were. We asked ASC & Writing Center staff to respond to the following prompt: “As we approach the middle of the term, what is a support strategy, Learning Corner resource, or campus resource that you feel students could benefit from during weeks 4-6 of the term, and why?”

Adam

As your students prepare for midterms and weekly quizzes, consider helping them recognize the range of active studying techniques they can use beyond re-reading notes. Re-reading helps learners practice memorization, but leaves them vulnerable to forgetting key concepts without notes in hand. On exams, students are challenged by recall. In order to recall information effectively, it’s important that learners use many different ways of practicing that information. Help students use their notes in new ways (e.g., build models, make drawings, explain to their friends). New engagement practices critical thinking and helps students retain information longer—valuable for any cumulative finals they may have!

Anna

The middle of the term is a great time for students to reflect, recalibrate, and get organized. Some of those larger assignments will be due within the coming weeks, so now’s the perfect time for backwards planning and making time to complete projects without waiting until the last minute. Procrastination can creep in as assignments and exams ramp up, and getting organized can help students stay motivated and on track. Our weekly to-do list, weekly calendar, and term-at-a-glance are popular tools that can be used to map out sub-goals and smaller deadlines for large projects or prep for exams without cramming.

Chris E.

I would be remiss if I didn’t choose the Writing Center as a resource that’s especially useful. During weeks 4-6, when students might start big writing projects, the Undergrad Research & Writing Studio in the Valley Library offers space for students to write among a community of writers with writing consultant support. Students can spend time in the Studio writing, reading, or researching, and then call a consultant over for a quick consultation—no appointment needed. Students who make the Studio their home base for writing will benefit as they’ll be advancing writing projects while also building successful project habits.

Chris G.

Weeks 4-6 are a good time to remind students about tutoring resources which can help clear up misconceptions about course material so far. We know that students commonly overestimate their knowledge at the beginning of the term, and weeks 4-6 are often weeks when students realize they need help. We can assure them that it’s not too late, especially if the end of the class is point and concept heavy. Some potential tutoring resources are the Mole Hole, Worm Hole, Econ Tutoring Lab, Math and Statistics Learning Center, and there is still room in some SI Study Tables!

Clare

Week 5 is half-way through the term and a great chance to recalibrate how we’re using time and for what. Completing the time-log worksheet can shed light on where students’ time is going and open up possibilities for what to do next. Need to spend more time studying or missing routine self-care? Students can work with a coach to build that into their schedule. Need to adjust their work schedule or family commitments? The insights from the time log sheet can be a starting point for those conversations.

Marjorie

The middle of the term can be hectic and is a great time to check in on how students are feeling and if they’re making time for study and for relaxation. Break Ideas from the ASC shares fun ways to take a break. I share this visual and invite students or student staff to share their favorite break activities and plan for times when breaks would be most useful in the upcoming week. I also share how I enjoy taking breaks—particularly my love of Tetris 99 and how satisfying it is to watch all the little tetrominoes fall into place.

Sarah

As the weeks fly by, I think it can be helpful to connect with students about resources that can support their health and well-being. Juggling everything can be stressful, and studying and concentration take a lot of energy. Remind folks about, or introduce them to, the Basic Needs Center’s Healthy Beaver Bags (one of several food resources the BNC helps students access). Students can pick up a bag of groceries each Friday with a recipe to try! There’s nourishment and adventures in cooking and opportunity to meet the great folks in the BNC!

Woodrós

Did you know the Mind Spa in CAPS has a plethora of resources, including a higher-end massage chair, biofeedback programs, a Buddha board, and a robust set of anytime online resources for those attending virtually? Any member of the OSU community can schedule time there. We all do better work when we are recharged and refreshed, and with all the options in the Mind Spa, there’s something for everyone! Students might consider signing up for an appointment as a study break, to settle in before a midterm, or to relax for a good night’s sleep.

What Are OSU Colleagues Reading?

Summer often offers capacity for reflection and planning ahead. As we head into the last few weeks of spring term, we want to highlight what our colleagues from around campus are reading. Perhaps you’ll find your next summer read in the list!

We asked colleagues, “What have you read that has informed your work or resonated for you, and why? This can be reading in any form (e.g., books, articles, videos, podcasts, audiobooks, etc.)”

Liz Delf, Senior Instructor, School of Writing, Literature, and Film

You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy (Valley Library; Macmillan Publishers)

Cover of the book You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters by Kate MurphyOh man, listening is hard. I am a talker! But this book convinced me that it’s worth making the effort to listen more. Murphy argues for the value of listening in relationships, friendships, workplaces, and interactions with strangers… even when you disagree. While this is a valuable area for me to improve on as a faculty member, it also made me think about how to help students listen to a range of ideas and perspectives. Surprisingly varied and enjoyable read.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller (Valley Library; Penguin Random House)

Miller’s memoir of her assault by Brock Turner and the consequent trial is Cover of the book Know My Name by Chanel Millerpainful—but it is also nuanced, poetic, and powerful. Her insightful close readings of court transcripts are rage-inducing. It’s a fair and important critique of the institutions—including the university—that should have done more in the aftermath of the assault. Miller also lifts up the helpers. The nurses, the advocates, the detectives, the DA, her family. The thousands who wrote to her when her victim’s statement was published. The cyclists who stopped Turner and chased him down. An important story for all of us to hear.

Miguel Arellano, Assistant Director of Outreach, Office of Institution Diversity

Cover of the book Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love by Antonia DarderReinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love by Antonia Darder (Valley Library; Routledge)

Caring Democracy: Markets, Equality, and Justice by Joan Tronto (Valley Library; NYU Press)Cover of the book Caring Democracy: Markets, Equality, and Justice by Joan

Some central concepts are unmasking power structures and dominant values that tend to dehumanize people and limit our full potential, individual and collectively, and how we can start shifting our values and practice to create a world that is more just and caring. These books make us consider how care and love (defined as a verb) can be central to our work with students and larger society. P.S. Tronto provides a framework for us!

Funmi Amobi, Instructional Consultant, College Liaison, Center for Teaching and Learning

Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead) edited by Susan Blum (Valley Library; West Virginia University Press)

The pandemic brought new attention to an assessment culture that focuses on assessment as learning and for learning, not just as summative measurement of student learning. The accountability paradigm of assessment with its emphasis on using grades to measure student knowledge and ability came under scrutiny. The learning-centric focus of the meaning assessment gained prominence. In Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead), edited by Susan Blum, the contributors unequivocally identified grades as the real problem in the assessment of student learning. They advocated for qualitative rather than quantitative assessment of student learning.

Steve Weber, Coordinator of Circulation Services, Library Experience + Access Department (LEAD), Valley Library

That’s Not How We Do It Here!: A Story about How Organizations Rise, Fall—and Can Rise Again by John P. Kotter & Holger Rathgeber (Valley Library; Kotter Inc.)

That an organization needs both innovation That’s Not How We Do It Here!: A Story about How Organizations Rise, Fall—and Can Rise Again by John P. Kotter & Holger Rathgeberand structure to succeed over the long run isn’t novel. However, it isn’t unusual for someone to have an affinity for one approach and a mistrust for the other. Having the concepts presented as a fable made for an enjoyable listen on my commute and suggested new ways to explain why one approach needs the other to thrive to colleagues who might respond better to analogy than charts and graphs.

Marigold Holmes, Assistant Director for Sponsored Programs, Office of International Services

The Good News Network

The Good News Network logoThe Good News Network highlights positive stories from around the world. As an international educator, knowing about political unrest, economic turmoil, natural disasters, etc. is important to offering timely and nuanced support to those I serve. But all too often, people in crisis get defined by the crisis, and I have found that knowing and appreciating the positive stories are equally important, especially in preserving their dignity. At a time when the news is overwhelmingly negative, this site offers a balanced view, reminding us that there is much good in the world and hope for a brighter future.

5 Ways for Teams to Build Community Outside of Meetings

Many of us have a variety of interactive team-building exercises or activities that we’ve experienced or facilitated during meetings. We also know that getting to know each other in fun and easy ways can take time—and it’s not always easy for everyone to attend the same meetings. Below are a few ideas from for engaging team members asynchronously in fun activities to get to know each other and build community.

  1. Share on a common prompt: Posting a prompt on a whiteboard, Jamboard, or on MS Teams gives people the option to weigh in on a prompt when they have time. Writing consultants recently asked each other about Myers-Briggs Personality categories, and then consultants made a chart showing the percentage of the team in each category. We’ve also had prompts for team members to post pictures of pets, share their favorite fall beverages, or weigh in on Oreo flavors.
  2. Host a taste test: Our Academic Success Center & Writing Center teams have done this a few times with foods like cupcakes and Girl Scout Cookies. You can create a plan for what to taste test, design a rubric, or post a few prompts on a shared whiteboard, Jamboard, or MS Teams. Keep in mind it can be helpful to ask about any food allergies to ensure folks are able to participate. E.g., you may want to identify vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free options.
  3. Write a story together: Set up a typewriter in a central location that all staff have access to or start a Teams thread or Canvas discussion board with an initial story prompt. Have people reply in the thread and add to the story over a week or two. Give folks a little warning near the deadline so someone can wrap up the story for the team. Once the deadline has passed, share/post the full story with the team.
  4. Create a playlist together: Have team members contribute to a playlist that captures the spirit of your team or group. You could also offer a theme as a prompt like “celebrating the end of the school year,” “songs for when there’s snow in April,” or “Sunday afternoon study jams.”
  5. Plan for friendly competition: Invite team members to sign up for competitions individually or as teams. For example, the Academic Success Center had a gingerbread house building contest, and student staff across programs signed up for days/times that worked for them. Once all the houses were built, team members and visitors to the space were able to vote and score houses based on criteria like “most delicious looking,” “most likely to survive an earthquake,” and “curb appeal.” Recently Writing Center consultants created a bracket for consultants who wanted to participate in a typing challenge, with deadlines for recording high scores from a typing speed website. Consultants advanced team members until they were left with a final round and top typing score of 134 wpm!

Have other activities that your teams have enjoyed? Leave a comment to share more ideas!

Student Staff Picks – Training Takeaways

Please visit this document for an accessible version of this article.

Student staff are at the heart of our work in the Academic Success Center & Writing Center. They engage in robust initial and ongoing training where they develop skills and strategies to support other students in their learning.

We invited student staff to share in response to the following prompt: “What is one topic or concept you learned about when training for your role at the Academic Success Center (ASC) & Writing Center that resonated for you and/or has stuck with you? Why is this topic or concept important to you, and how have you applied that learning outside of your work in the ASC and Writing Center?”

Click the image below to view full-size.

An ocean background with quotes overlaid on top

Centering Team Members’ Ideas & Perspectives

This past year, our Academic Success Center & Writing Center team has engaged in ongoing work on the Division of Student Affairs Strategic Priority. Anna shared about our team’s process for exploring equity topics in her post from Fall 2021. The past two terms, our teams have explored equity and leadership practices. Each team member explored a range of practices specific to their roles, and one that resonated for me was inviting team members’ ideas as a starting point in conversations. Across many contexts, I try to create an environment that invites collaboration. We each bring a unique history, perspective, and approach to our conversations and decision-making. This is part of what makes working in teams and collaborating so valuable. The practice I highlight here is, for me, about how we can help people feel there is space for and value in what they contribute. Across our many interactions, we can create a space that centers team members’ perspectives and ideas. In turn, this also means de-centering supervisor or leader perspective so that is not the focal point of discussion. Given the complexity of our interactions and decisions, it can take intentionality and planning to be mindful of the spaces we create in conversations.

Values of This Practice

I appreciate this strategy as it has the potential to encourage people to bring their knowledge, experience, and perspectives to bear more fully on their work. It contributes to equity by emphasizing the inherent value of each person and the importance of our relationships with each other. I also find value in pushing back on that idea that there is one “right” way to do things. Like many people, at times I come up with an idea or path forward and need to take a step back to consider the full range of possibilities. I’m personally working to attend more to how I can create the type of space that acknowledge and values each person and allows for many pathways and options to be considered. We have the potential to lose these benefits when we lose sight of the relationships we have with others and instead focus primarily on deadlines, products, or a single perspective.

As I reflected on this practice, a reading that added nuance for me was White Supremacy Culture: Still Here by Tema Okun. Okun offers that “we are at our best when we are ‘with’ others (and ourselves)” and encourages prioritizing relationships and acknowledging that we are all worthy and invaluable. In doing so, we can push back on that idea of one “right way” and instead benefit from what we experience and create when we are “with” each other. Another reading that contributed to my thinking on this practice was Critical Supervision by Gray, Johnston, and Noble (Valley Library; Publisher). They emphasize the importance of early, transparent conversations about supervisory relationships and the impact of relationships on work and growth. They advocate for “safe, shared and dialogical relationships that consider individual differences and histories” and where leaders are mindful of how ideas are presented, when and what questions are asked, and opportunities for co-creation of knowledge (159).

Strategies for Interaction

Over the past few months, I’ve considered a number of ways I can better enact this practice in my own work. Some of the strategies shared here lend themselves more to one-on-one conversations, while others might work better with a small group or larger team.

Intentional Plans for Conversations and Meetings

It can help to think in advance of conversations or meetings. Planning for conversation flow and questions can be an important part of creating intentional spaces. Here are a few prompting questions that can encourage individual or team sharing and reflection:

  • What ideas do you have?
  • What possible options have you identified?
  • Want to brainstorm some ideas together?
  • Based on your experience, what are you thinking/leaning toward?
  • What are the range of ways this [action, project, task, etc.] could be accomplished?

Mindfulness around Responding to Ideas

When people share, it can be helpful to consider a wide range of ways to respond, especially ways that keep thinking open. This can help to avoid immediately jumping to questions, offering advice, or noting additional factors to consider which might limit vs. opening the conversation. Here are a few potential responses that can support more open-ended thinking:

  • Affirming what is shared
  • Sharing areas of agreement
  • Asking open-ended, neutral questions to develop understanding
  • Paraphrasing to confirm understanding
  • Generating many ideas simultaneously

These are just a few strategies that resonated for me as I reflected on intentional conversation and decision-making spaces. And there are so many more beyond this short list! I’m still exploring strategies and would love to hear ways that you invite team members to bring their ideas, experiences, and perspectives to their work. Feel free to reply to this post or send an me email if you’d like to share.

Small Ways to Encourage & Support Students at the End of the Term

Fall term has been a lot for students to navigate. While the return to in-person learning for some students has been exciting and joyful, it’s also come with stress, overwhelm, and burnout as the term gets busier, and motivation become challenging. The last few weeks of the term are often a whirlwind of holidays; assignments; work; and moving between different spaces for travel, studying, and finals.

Instructors have likely already planned out class time for the next few weeks, and supervisors and team leads may not have a lot of space left in staff meetings either. However, these three strategies take relatively little time, and can have a big impact on students’ experience of the final weeks of the term.

Help Students Plan Post-Holiday Academics

OSU’s fall term is unique with a holiday before Week 10. The final weeks of the term go by fast, and the Week 9 break can sometimes make students feel they have more time than they do, or that they may be able to accomplish more after the break than is feasible. If students don’t look ahead, they may find themselves surprised when facing Week 10 and Finals.

If you’re an instructor, it can help to take a few minutes in class during Week 8 or 9 to look ahead with students. If you have an assignment due early Week 10, you could post a few prompts during class or on Canvas to help students consider

  • How long will this assignment take?
  • What day(s) do they hope to complete it on?
  • If these days are over the holiday/weekend…
    • What time do they want to hold for themselves?
    • What times are best for work that will make Week 10 manageable?

For those supporting students in non-class contexts, these questions work well too! Giving students space to plan intentionally can make Week 10 easier to navigate.

Prompt Backward Planning

Particularly when things get busy or feel overwhelming, students often benefit from being prompted to plan around finals.

For instructors, highlighting final due dates in class—whether that’s a final exam, project, or paper—and giving students 10 minutes to plan backwards from that date can be a big help. A calendar and a few prompts can be useful for planning:

  • What are smaller steps to accomplishing the larger task?
    • E.g., if writing a paper, when will you draft? When will you get feedback, and from whom? When will you revise?
  • If studying in advance of a final, how might you distribute your practice over time?
  • What support and resources do you have? When will you reach out to them?

In non-class contexts supervising student staff or advising, giving students space to do that same kind of planning can also be helpful. Beyond finals-related questions, you might also prompt students to consider

  • How do work hours intersect with studying or finals? Would any adjustments to schedule be needed or helpful?
  • What other routine or non-routine events are important to include on your calendar these next three weeks?

The Academic Success Center’s Final Survival Guide has a variety of tools and strategies for planning the end of the term and maintaining well-being. It also includes a small and large calendar you could share with students.

Encourage Self-Care

As the term gets hectic, reminding students of the importance of self-care helps students attend to their well-being in addition to the variety of commitments they’re balancing within and outside of academics.  Here are a few ways you can encourage self-care:

  • Share the DAM Good Self-Care Packet, and create space for students to identify strategies or fill out page 4’s Plan for Self-Care. A few minutes in class, in a staff meeting, or during a conversation can remind students how important their well-being is.
  • Encourage breaks. Nearing finals, students often have longer study sessions and may benefit from considering
    • How long can you maintain focus before losing attention or energy?
    • How long will your breaks be? And with what frequency?
    • What will you do during breaks?
    • How will you get back on track after a longer break?
  • Make space for students to share self-care strategies. Sometimes hearing from other students and from you about approaches to self-care and managing stress can give students a range of strategies and normalize self-care as a part of overall well-being and academic success.

I hope some of these ideas are helpful as you think about supporting students at the end of fall term. If you have additional ideas or strategies you use, please share them in the comments!

What Are OSU Colleagues Reading?

As we head into the last few weeks of the term, we wanted to share what some of our colleagues from around campus are reading. Perhaps one of these will spark your interest or get added to your To Be Read list over winter break.

We asked colleagues, “What have you read that has informed your work or resonated for you, and why? This can be reading in any form (e.g., books, articles, videos, podcasts, audiobooks, etc.).”

Dan Larson, Vice Provost for Student Affairs

TThe cover of the book The Sum of Us by Heather McGheehe Sum of Us:  What Racism Costs Everyone and How we can Prosper Together, by Heather McGhee.

While I am not yet finished with the book, I am finding the information and analysis to be helpful in understanding systems and how they perpetuate social and racial disparity.

The cover of the book How College Works by Daniel F. Chambliss and Christopher G. Takacs

How College Works by Daniel F. Chambliss and Christopher G. Takacs. This book provides an analysis of what about the college experience produces student success.  It’s a Student Affairs anthem!

Scott Vignos, Interim Vice President and Chief Diversity Office, Office of Institutional Diversity

NPR logo with a black background, ring of circles, and the word throughline in the middleI am a huge fan of the podcast “Throughline” from National Public Radio. Hosted by Ramtin Arablouei and Rund Abdelfatah, Throughline dives deep to illuminate connections between historical events and contemporary issues. I particularly love the episodes on voting rights in the United States, and James Baldwin’s enduring influence.

Sarah Tinker Perrault, WIC Director & Associate Professor, WIC & School of Writing Literature, & Film

For my research, I’ve been reading about bibliometrics, that is, statistical methods of measuring scholarly output and impact. Two articles offer a good introduction to how bibliometrics affect scholars’ working conditions and work: “The Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics” and the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment. These and other articles are informing the book I’m writing on rhetorical approaches to teaching science writing. To teach rhetorically, we need to convey the complex contextual factors that affect writers’ decisions; therefore, the book will help writing studies and science faculty understand how factors like bibliometrics shape scientific genre ecologies.

Daniel López-Cevallos, Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education & Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, Academic Affairs

Book cover of Relationship Rich Education by Peter Felten and Leo Lambert with people connected by intersecting linesThis fall, my undergraduate research team (URSA, STEM Leaders) and I are reading the book “Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Drive Success in College” by Peter Felten and Leo Lambert of Elon University. The book argues for the importance of centering human connections/relationships towards a transformative undergraduate educational experience; and propose four principles for advancing relationship-based learning: 1) Every student must experience genuine welcome and deep care; 2) Every student must be inspired to learn; 3) Every student must develop a web of significant relationships; and 4) Every student must explore questions of meaning and purpose.

Remote End-of-Year Celebrations

It’s that time of year! Many of us are planning end-of-year celebrations and activities to recognize our student staff and graduating seniors. Now is a great time to get creative and find fun ways for our teams to connect, say thank you, and celebrate together.

Here are five ideas for how to celebrate remotely:

  1. Online games. Websites like backyard.co allow users to create game rooms where folks can log on without an account to play. Within each game, people can choose to use video/audio or the chat.
  2. Videos. Create a video where team members can all contribute a picture, brief message, or thanks. Try out lipsync-ing to a celebratory tune.
  3. Gift packages. There’s something nice about getting mail and knowing someone was thinking of you. Packages could include things like a thank you card, snacks (be sure to check for allergens before sending), or useful gifts. Small gifts might include things like blue-light blocking glasses, miniature tools, magnet picture frames, origami books with encouraging notes, or mugs.
  4. Zoom games. You can make your own MadLibs with stories themed to your work. Or consider creating a quiz for your team featuring lesser-known facts about colleagues. For some friendly competition, have your team break into groups for some Jeopardy! You can even have folks vote on topics in advance. My vote: Star Trek the Next Generation plotlines.
  5. Customized cards. Use an online design platform like Canva or Kudoboard to create customized cards for graduating seniors. Each team member then has a chance to add to the message with their own drag-and-drop design elements.