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Getting Your Society Online

 

We've pulled together some resources to help your society stay active through digital means.

 

Don't worry if you've been a little stuck for ideas about how to keep your society members engaged, this has been a challenging time for us all. We're hoping the resources on this page will help you to keep your society active whilst everyone is away from campus.

 

Staying Connected

Unfortunately due to the current circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, society gatherings have been suspended for the moment. We know that these social restrictions have made it harder for societies to connect with their members. The good news is that staying physically distant from one another doesn't mean you have to be digitally distant. Staying connected just takes a bit of adjustment and creativity! There are so many different platforms at your disposal which will help you communicate with your members online. If you have a webcam and an internet connection, you can still host society dinners, pub quizzes, game nights, live music sessions and more. Staying connected with your members is certainly achieveable (take a look at how you can make it happen with our guidance below) and is super important for the following reasons:

 

  • •  It helps the group keep an active membership (which means more members next year!)
  • •  You can help combat social isolation/loneliness amongst your members
  • •  You can learn new skills that can be carried on into the future of your society
Creating and Running Online Events

One challenge is working with your committee in real time to plan activities and events. Here are some websites that can help you as you put together a plan of action:

 

  • Google Docs
  • Multiple users can edit a document at the same time while seeing each others' changes instantaneously. Users can produce text documents, slide presentations, spreadsheets, drawings and surveys
  •  
  • Trello
  • Trello is a collaboration tool that organises your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what and where something is in a process. Imagine a whiteboard filled with sticky notes, where each note details a task for you and your team
Online Activity Ideas
  • • Virtual quizzes
  • • Netflix Parties
  • • Virtual coffee mornings
  • • Online board games
  • • Virtual book clubs
  • • Virtual podcast clubs
  • • Write a self-isolation blog
  • • Create a discord group
  • • Host some at home tutorials to teach people a new skill
  • • Dress up challenges - Friday night social style
  • • TikTok challenges
  • • Virtual bake off – have your committee judge your members' kitchen creations
  • • Ask your members to share their favourite society memories and photos
  • • Academic Society? Why not share some study tips
  • • Creative Society? Release a creative prompt for your members each day
  • • Faith Society? Why not organise a virtual gathering or prayer session
  • • Mubi
  • • The National Theatre
  • • Audible
Top Tips

Here are some top tips for running inclusive and engaging online activities:

  •  
  • • Communicate in different formats and on different platforms. We've listed some popular platforms below so you could see if any of those work for your society
  • • Remember some of your members may be in different time zones. Try to schedule meetings with this in mind
  • • Keep meetings/socials interactive. Whether this is a poll or an activity, ensure your spaces are inclusive for all. Take a look at the ideas we've listed above as some might appeal to your society
  • • Now is a great time for collaboration. Interact with other societies and have joint socials to meet new people!
  • • Ask your members what they want. They may have some different ideas and are more likely to get involved if you're tailoring your activities towards their interests
  • • Have different members host each social – this will keep it fun, interesting and ensures you're including more people
  • • Your SU webpage matters! Update your page with your latest information and current activities you're running

 

Here are some top tips for making sure your set up is suitable for video calls:

  •  
  • • Figure out where you’re going to sit in your home when you’re on video calls and do a test run. Make sure your internet connection reaches the room you're calling from
  • • If you’re using a laptop camera, put it on a stack of books so that you’re looking straight into the camera, not down at it
  • • Check the lighting. The light source should be coming from behind your computer screen. It should not be in frame with you on camera. If you have a desk lamp with a flexible arm, you can position that right behind your monitor with the light pointed directly at your face
  • • Framing-wise, you want the camera to see from your chest to a few inches above the top of your head. Filling the entire screen with a close-up of your face isn't always the best look! Nor is sitting too far away from your device, as this can make it difficult for others to see or hear you
Popular Platforms

Here are some popular platforms you might want to look at when deciding how to connect with your members digitally. They all have different benefits and features, so think about which might work best for you and your group:

 

  • Zoom
  • Zoom is a web-based video conferencing tool with a local, desktop client and a mobile app that allows users to meet online, with or without video. Zoom users can choose to record sessions, collaborate on projects and share or annotate on one another's screens, all with one easy-to-use platform. If your society plans on having a Zoom call with more than 100 participants, please contact us and we can provide you with our login details for our paid account
  •  
  • Google Hangouts
  • Up to 25 people can join a video hangout and up to 150 people can join a voice-only hangout. This is fairly simple with easy access provisions
  •  
  • Discord
  • Discord is a chat app. It’s created with video game players in mind, providing them with ways to find each other through friend usernames, coordinate play, and talk while playing. It supports video calls, voice chat, and text, allowing users to get in touch however they please
  •  
  • Twitch
  • Twitch streaming and video games go hand in hand, giving millions of viewers and broadcasters a way to interact and share creative content with others. Twitch is a platform for live video streaming, offering nearly anything you’d want to watch, from cooking, music, Q&A sessiona and video games
  •  
  • MyQuiz
  • Perfect if you’re looking to host multiplayer quizzes where you can play together at the same time. MyQuiz allows you to engage with and entertain players from home or at different venues
  •  
  • YouTube - Live
  • Just about anyone with an internet connection can create a YouTube channel for free and live stream to it, but your channel must first be verified and can't have any live stream restrictions in the last 90 days. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to get a live stream set up
Responsible Use of Social Media

Social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are useful tools for societies to engage with their members. However, they do also pose risks to your society and the Students’ Union. Below is some advice and guidance when using social media on behalf of your societies:

 

  • • Whether you're communicating online or in person, you must follow the rules and regulations regarding our policies. A list of our policies can be found here
  • • You must adhere to our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy
  • • Be respectful to others when making any statement on social media and be aware that you are personally responsible for all communications, which will be published on the internet for anyone to see
  • • If you're not sure about whether a statement or post is appropriate, refrain from publishing it until you have discussed it with a staff member at the Students’ Union. If a student has been inappropriate, this may result in disciplinary action
  • • If you see inappropriate social media content, you should let us know
  • • When you're online and behind a screen, it can be easy to forget that you're interacting with another person. Please bear in mind that online conversations can be easily misinterpreted! Don't say something to someone online that you would never say to them in person
Upskilling at Home

Looking for specific ways to develop your skills during lockdown? Here are some great links to work through from home:

 

Students' Union Support

Remember we're still here for you. The Student Activities team are all working as normal from Monday to Friday, just from the comfort of our homes rather than the office. We're still here to support you and we will be on hand to answer any queries you might have. You can always reach us at societies@hertfordshire.su for further advice and guidance

 

Contact Us

  • Hertfordshire Students’ Union

    College Lane

    Hatfield

    Hertfordshire

    AL10 9AB

  • 01707 285000

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