10 Tips for Building Virtual Student Engagement & Connection

The holiday season is approaching and although many college students are currently off-campus and at home, there’s still ways to provide virtual programs for student engagement to help students feel connected with their university in easy and accessible ways during this holiday break.

1) Let’s Meetup with a Netflix Streaming Party

Whether you’re a fan of the holiday romantic comedies starring Vanessa Hudgens or are already in need of a break from all things holiday-related and would rather watch something less festive, plan a Netflix Movie party. To get started install the app, send an invite with the details to your university community, and host that teleparty get together.

2) What Do Others Think? Create a Poll

Brainstorming what gift ideas to consider for 2020? Need movie or television streaming ideas during the break? Ask your burning questions in the form of a poll. Create polls to hear what others around your university have to say and encourage them to make polls for their own questions. 

3) Host a Virtual Game Night

Gaming is another way to keep your students interactive during the break. From Among Us or Jackbox Games, host game nights for students to join and be a part of. They might just connect with other students who also share similar interests and potentially continue to host their own virtual game nights throughout the upcoming year.

4) Create Channels and Pages Over Shared Interests

So maybe the students at your school prefer books, sports, anime, or music. Create pages and channels specifically for their interests of choice. Start a virtual book club, host a chat channel where students can talk about their favorite sports teams, whatever peaks their interest this is a way for them to connect with others with similar hobbies and passions. Not sure what page or channel to create? With the help of polls gauge what majority of the students are interested in and go from there.

5) You Can’t Go Wrong with Virtual Events

From Zoom to Google Hangouts, move typically in-person programs to completely virtual. From a trivia night or virtual concert, leverage virtual meetups to connect students to one another with entertaining games and conversations online.

6) Plan a Holiday Giveaway

Gifts are always welcome, and they’re especially popular this time of the year. Provide students incentives to participate in your online programming by offering gift cards or university apparel. Host lottery style type activities to full-blown contests where the winners receive a special giveaway prize at the end.

7) Host Online Contests Throughout the Season

From Instagram to Snapchat to TikTok, this generation loves photos, videos and content creation. With that in mind, while students are off-campus you can host creative contests that they can do from the comfort of their home. On a weekly or daily basis, host a photo contest providing students with a prompt. Whether that’s sharing their best holiday dessert or favorite winter decorations, have fellow students vote and decide what they like best. You can even tie it in with the holiday giveaway and offer the winners with the most votes a reward.

8) Who Doesn’t Love a Scavenger Hunt?

Like we said, most people are opting to stay indoors right now and from home how do you keep occupied? As part of creative games, why not host a scavenger hunt? If your university is utilizing a student engagement platform, post a list of clues and take advantage of the different areas such as the cover photos or icon photos and events to hide the answers in. It’s a way for students to take advantage of the platform and make the most of their account.

9) Post Your Recommendation Lists

Do you have a list of suggestions students can relate to, whether that’s a list of holiday DIYs they can create, or several recipes they can attempt to cook or bake at home? Compile your recommendations for students to try their hand at and give them opportunities to participate in university programming while off campus.

10) You’re Invited to a Virtual Holiday Party

Combine several of these ideas and turn them into a virtual holiday party! From online games, to a scavenger hunt, streaming party and more. Encourage attendees to bring their own snacks and beverages, while you video chat, play an online game, or enjoy a virtual concert. It can be another fun activity to add to their holiday plans this year!