Clubs and student groups keep Newman community engaged

Cole Schnieders, Staff Writer

Campus may be closed, but student groups are doing their best to retain a sense of community.

Junior Karen Do, president of Asian Student Association, said that the club plans to keep holding evening meetings for is members.

“We decided to host our first evening meeting with a lot of students. We called it a ‘mukbang,’ which is a Korean eating show,” Do said. “And so everyone on the Zoom chat was asked to grab food and we all ate together.”

Do said part of the inspiration for the mukbang was the group’s regular board meetings, where there was always food.

“Then we played online games. We played Cards Against Humanity and the Draw Something game, which was so fun. We are planning a couple more of those probably,” Do said. “We’re just trying to stay connected.”

ASA has been active in the broader Wichita community through tele-volunteering. Members hand write notes of encouragement, scan them, then email the scans to homebound elderly in the community, Do said.

Multicultural Leadership Organization president Kim Pham said her group was doing its best to adapt to life online as well.

“We’re still having our bimonthly general meetings just to make our members feel more included, and that they can still be active, even though we’re not on campus,”she said. “It’s definitely been difficult for everyone to transition from in-person to online.”

Pham said they’re still trying to maintain a fun environment for students.

“Instead of having big events, we’re doing little social hangouts. We play online multiplayer games,” Pham said. “And just have Netflix parties and social stuff.”

In addition, she said, they have been continuing to feature a MCLO member of the week on social media to highlight their active members and their accomplishments.  

Emily Simon, assistant director of Campus Ministry, and Fr. Adam Grelinger, Newman’s Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry, said they are transitioning online as well.

“We are doing Wednesday night hangouts at 8 p.m.,” Simon said. “We’re hoping here in the near future to do a retreat for that time.”

Grelinger said they’ll be inviting Andy Churray on Wednesday to speak to students. Churray is the Wichita Area Director for Vagabond Ministries, a Christian organization that serves inner-city youth.

The primary focus for Campus Ministry for the rest of the semester will be maintaining community, Grelinger said.

“I think the idea would just be kind of hanging out. There’s a strong desire to just see one another and have a laugh together,” he said.

Campus Ministry has also pulled together a website called “The Virtual Red Couch” for those missing the real red couch in the campus ministry office. The Virtual Red Couch hosts musings from students and staff of Newman, as well as weekly challenges and a serial short story project.

“I’m really excited with how it’s going to go,” Simon said.