Catch friends, not COVID

Attend virtual Week of Welcome events, form study groups in class via Zoom or in-person

Social+distancing+doesn%E2%80%99t+mean+you+have+to+be+socially+distant.+Make+a+trip+to+the+UREC+or+ORC+and+socialize+with+some+outdoors-y+people%3B+you+might+get+lucky.

LAUREN PETTIT

Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to be socially distant. Make a trip to the UREC or ORC and socialize with some outdoors-y people; you might get lucky.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen reporter

Whether you are an incoming freshman or returning to WSU for the fourth year, the prospect of online classes can be daunting — and not just because of Zoom fatigue. 

Making and keeping friends when you can’t meet in person can be difficult. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can meet your new COVID crew, whether you want to get outdoors or prefer staying online. 

UREC and ORC

Whether or not you are living in Pullman, you can use University Recreation resources for your health — and your social life. 

Try a virtual fitness class during Week of Welcome, visit the Student Recreation Center for a bouldering clinic, or sign up for a trip with the Outdoor Recreation Center

Activities are formatted to comply with local and national regulations, said Jonathan Stahl, UREC assistant director of adventure programs and experiential learning. Staff sanitizes gear regularly, and participants must wear masks and maintain social distance, among other restrictions specific to each activity. 

All outdoor trips are free to students this semester, Stahl said. By signing up, you can learn outdoor adventure skills, such as backpacking or camping, while meeting fellow Cougs. 

The rental shop at the ORC is open to students and all gear is properly disinfected, Stahl said. Kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and tents are among the items available for use. 

“Maybe you have a friend or someone who’s not even that great of a friend yet, but who you want to become better friends with,” Stahl said. “What better way to become better friends … than by getting out on a little adventure with them?”

Week of Welcome events

Week of Welcome is usually dedicated to convocation, the all-campus picnic, informal club meetings and a whole array of get-to-know-you games that allow you to connect with fellow Cougs before classes even begin. 

However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, Week of Welcome will look different this year, with many more events taking place online. For instance, a virtual resource fair will connect you to different organizations in the community.

Use this opportunity to connect with as many different clubs and groups on campus as you can. Chances are, you will meet someone with similar interests and you can join a few organizations together.

Don’t let the awkwardness of Zoom introductions get you down. If you find a group you like, you can attend in-person gatherings once restrictions are lifted and meet all the people you met online. 

Classes

You may not be able to physically sit next to someone in class, but that doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them via Zoom. 

Many professors encourage forming study groups, and some may even provide time during a lecture to do so. Use this time — and the fact that our Zoom accounts are linked to our WSU emails — to contact a few people about studying.

You may end up meeting only on Zoom, or if you all live nearby, you could gather for a socially-distanced study session. Either way, study partners can often become good friends, so take advantage of this opportunity.