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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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How members of the Class of 2024 are meeting each other during a pandemic

Zoom and social media play a large role in making connections

 Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on theeaglecoronavirusproject.com, a separate website created by Eagle staff at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020. Articles from that website have been migrated to The Eagle’s main site and backdated with the dates they were originally published in order to allow readers to access them more easily. 

Since American University announced on July 30 that classes would be fully online and freshmen and sophomores would no longer be living on campus, the Class of 2024 has met friends in different ways than previous classes. 

In this era, social media has played a huge role in helping people meet each other and connect virtually.

“The very first way I made friends was Instagram; that was my main way of doing it all summer, especially the freshman Instagram page,” said Malik Gupta, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs.

There are several American University Class of 2024 social media accounts, including a Facebook page, an Instagram page and a GroupMe chat. 

On the AU Class of 2024 Instagram page, students post information about themselves in a comment, such as where they are from or what they like to do, along with some photos. Students tag their own Instagram account so they can connect with other freshmen.

“People have reached out to me through social media and have DMed me, and I’ve met up with people who live in the area [New England], since I didn’t go down to D.C. and I know a lot of freshmen have,” said Erin Glosner, a freshman in the School of International Service. 

Outside of social media, some freshmen said that Zoom breakout rooms during class have been another way to make friends. Students said they often exchange phone numbers or social media handles.

“I am gonna become reliant on the teacher really pushing these friendships or relationships,” Gupta said.

Otherwise, students have had to take it upon themselves in their classes to make friends and meet new people. 

“I just had to go out of my way and slide into other people’s private messages on Zoom,” said Ali Feder, a freshman in the School of Communication and SPA.

AU hosted an involvement fair on Aug. 27, which allowed freshmen to join new clubs, but it also became an outlet for freshmen to meet their peers with fellow interests, connect with older students and get a better sense of AU students. 

Glosner attended the involvement fair and joined CHAARG, a club that focuses on empowering women physically, mentally and emotionally. The club describes itself as a community of women who support one another and do at-home workouts together.

“I would say [CHAARG] has helped me meet new people and make friends because we do small groups, and we workout together,” Glosner said. “We just chat sometimes and then we have a bunch of group chats.”

While some freshmen have successfully met new people and made friends through these unconventional means, Gupta said that there is still some fear of not knowing what will happen when they return to campus.

“Trying to take these virtual relationships, people I have never met or anything, and turn it into something that can translate into in-person, I think that’s going to be the really hard part about this,” Gupta said.

gmatassa@theeagleonline.com


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