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Students connect during Laurier campus closures

News Article + Audio


Fourth-year Criminology and Policing student Ashwiiny Arulharan never expected to become president of the Human Rights and Human Diversity Students’ Association during a pandemic.

The association, which usually works with organizations in the community, has struggled to host events and recruit members since school started in September. Arulharan says she finds it difficult to connect with people without in-person events and meetings.

“I’ve noticed this already, even shooting out emails to try to get engagement,” she says. “I think the first barrier is like, how do I make it engaging, and just knowing that people aren’t going to respond to it, it gets harder.”

Laurier student groups have been unable to meet or host events in person since the university closed its campuses in March.

“In a normal year, you have a level of in-person interaction, which holds clubs accountable, and it’s easier to get a turnout to their specific events,” says Graham Falconer, the students’ union vice-president of clubs and associations. “One main thing we’re still battling with is how we can support clubs and get the best audience we can for them and for the events that they’re holding.”

English Students’ Association president Iona McMahon reports a similar struggle to engage students, especially for their weekly writer’s circle.

“I think it’s a lot scarier to read a piece of your writing on Zoom than it would be to do so in person. I just feel like there’s a lot more pressure and it feels kind of like people are staring at you,” she says.

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Above: Laurier’s Graham Falconer, Iona McMahon and Ashwiiny Arulharan discuss the challenges and opportunities they face as club executives during Laurier’s campus closure.
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