I’m sure we’ve all had some experience of video calls over the last few weeks, whether that has been checking in with your mates, an online meeting with university staff or connecting with relatives (with varying degrees of success!)
Before you begin, know to expect some technical difficulties. Try to have a sense of humour about the whole thing. Most of us aren’t video-conferencing pros and it’s likely going to take a little trial and error to get set up the first time.
Here are some popular platforms you might want to look at when deciding how to connect with your members digitally. They have different benefits and features, so think about which might work best for you and your group.
Download the Zoom application and click “Launch meeting.” Click “Invite participants” and either email them or add them from your Zoom contacts. After everyone has joined, you can share your screen by clicking the green “Share screen” button in the bottom centre of the video. Participants will be able to see your face in a windowed video and you’ll be able to see theirs.
If you have Gmail, that means you already have a Google account you can use to set up Hangouts for free. Go to hangouts.google.com and click “Start a new hangout.” You can invite other people by their Gmail addresses or by emailing them a link. To share your screen once the Hangout has begun, hover your mouse in the call and click the three vertical dots on the upper-right hand side of the screen and click “Share screen.”
For more information, visit hangouts.google.com.
We’ve seen lots of student groups take on this challenge and come up with some great ideas for connecting with their members online using the above platforms. We’ve collected some ideas together below:
This one is pretty straightforward. Everyone joins the videoconference and eats or drinks - think online pres or ‘family’ dinners. Quartz has some ideas for dinner party conversation starters if you run out of things to talk about, and this list from PopSugar has some fun ones that can mostly be adapted for the quarantine situation.
The Balloon Bar is closed, but that doesn’t mean the singing has to stop! Gather your friends for some karaoke through Google Hangouts or Skype. Timeout has a list of the 50 best karaoke songs ever, and Latin Times compiled the best 10 songs to sing in Spanish. Just search “karaoke version of (insert favourite song here)” and let it rip. Make it competitive by adding scorecards!
Probably an obvious one, but staying in touch with your committee is super important. With reaffiliation coming up, you can also use video conferencing as a tool to facilitate handovers.
Something like Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples could work if you all have it. One player would hold up the prompt card, and everyone would pick an answer card from their hand. Then players would hold up their answers to the camera for the judge to decide. You lose the anonymity of the regular version of these games, but these are challenging times. And we all have to make adjustments.
With games like Scattergories or Pictionary only one person needs to own the game. Everyone else just needs a pen and paper. The host can share their screen with the categories listed somewhere like a Google Doc. The host rolls the dice to decide the letter, opens the categories screen so everyone can see, sets the timer and then you’re off.
You could also play online versions of family classics like charades or even host your own bingo night! Host a Live challenge night Setting your members challenges over the course of a night could be a really fun way to stay connected.
You could try:
There are loads of resources and articles online that can give you some further ideas. Here are just a few we found: