2020 was a weird year for many things, and blog writing was no exception.
Previously, I never would have imagined publishing even a single post that touched upon how to support students through a global pandemic. But alas, we ended up with many dozens like that.
My teammates and I know that it’s been a tough year — not just for your students, but for student affairs as a profession. SA pros worldwide have had to reevaluate many of their assumptions about student behavior, reconfigure their everyday work processes, invent entirely new methods for engaging students, and more.
This blog aimed to address many of those concerns, challenges, and lingering questions — through a grand total of 159 posts. If you didn’t have a chance to read them all (since, ya know, you were a tad busy engaging students and managing crises), I thought I’d help you out. Here were our ten most popular posts of the entire year, as measured by the number of folx who found and read the words of wisdom penned by student affairs pros and higher ed experts around the country.
Let’s get to it — starting with our 10th most popular and showcasing a brief preview of the goodies within each post.
You likely want to help develop your students into outstanding global citizens.
You want them to be compassionate towards others, invested in societal betterment, and confident in advocating for justice. But to help students gain such skills, you need to tackle difficult subjects together.
You can’t shy away from the ugly truths of our society and the biases embedded within it. You need to help students recognize them and call them out.
Even as programming shifts to virtual environments, inclusion remains important.
This means we need to make sure that our students feel included, like they belong, and are capable of participating and enjoying programs.
Inclusion is an intentional choice, wherein we choose to provide access and opportunities for folx — whereas making folx feel like they belong means creating an environment where they can be their true selves.
Our work all comes back to the students.
Whether you’re most interested in forming relationships, making a difference through mentorship, or creating a lasting impact by changing administrative systems, you likely got into the field to support student success.
And despite the global pandemic, students are still moving forward with their plans to graduate and begin pursuing careers. So, we still need programs and resources to prepare them.
The future of what and how our work with students looks like might change as a result of COVID-19; however, I am confident that the why — the reasons behind our work — will not.
Our students and society need us to prioritize anti-racism, and in a previous post, I detailed three ways for student affairs professionals to be anti-racist.
Being anti-racist requires a lot of work on everyone’s part, and that work should start with written statements about the institution’s commitment to anti-racism.
Not only do our institutions as a whole need to commit to being anti-racist, but we also have a responsibility to make sure that our divisions, departments, offices, committees, and student groups are committing to anti-racist practices.
Raising money and asking for donations can be super uncomfortable, especially for college students.
Yet, for student organizations, fundraising is often essential. When done well, fundraising is great way to not only raise money but also to reinforce co-curricular learning. Fundraising can be an engaging event in and of itself!
Programs with entrance fees or opportunities for donations can help fundraise money for t-shirts, program supplies, and anything else that an organization might need.
Grad school probably didn’t prepare you for working remotely during a global pandemic.
At least mine didn’t. And, unfortunately, working from home isn’t as simple as packing up your laptop and changing locations. Being away from your coworkers and students can introduce surprising stressors. It requires a unique type of self-discipline and may make many of your usual workplace routines impossible.
So, my Presence teammates and I put ourselves on the case. Here are 18 tips for working remotely, while balancing both mental health and productivity in a reasonable, responsible way.
“Yay” or “yikes” — which should you proclaim if your campus is planning to welcome students back soon?
Probably a bit off both.
You’re excited to see your students away from a screen, offering them incredible engagement and support in line with your student affairs dreams. Yet, you understand that there are health risks involved.
So, how do you consolidate the two concerns: Keeping students engaged and keeping them safe? One way is through on-campus programs that allow students to come together… but not too close.
We built Presence with a focus on solving real-world problems.
And right now, we recognize that your top challenges are probably different from usual thanks to COVID-19. Many institutions across the country are moving their classes online, canceling group gatherings (aka our beloved campus programs), and asking students to move out of their residence halls. Even if your institution hasn’t taken those measures (yet), campus life probably isn’t business as usual.
Higher education is steeped in traditions.
Students belt out fight songs during sporting events, toss their caps on commencement day, and guzzle gallons of coffee when studying for exams. But before all this, they’re inducted into their institutional communities through orientation.
This year, we have to plan for the tradition of orientation looking… well, untraditional due to COVID-19. For most institutions, that means going virtual.
Most student affairs professionals pursued this field because we adore connecting with students.
We imagine hours spent chatting on campus and planning programs together. But for many folx, that’s simply not possible right now. (I’m glaring angrily at you, COVID-19.)
Yet, given our patented tenacious #SApro spirits, we won’t let little things like campus closures and the complete disruption of our daily lives spoil all of our activities.
Instead, we adapt. SA pros nationwide are looking for activities that can be run virtually. Although our students cannot physically enter a set campus space together, we want them to log on, plug in, and engage with one another remotely.