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Engagement, Interrupted


Engagement, Interrupted launched in Spring of 2020, during the COVID-19 outbreak. It features Appalachian State students who are involved with the Department of Student Engagement and Leadership, and stories of how they are coping, surviving, and thriving while their classes, their jobs, their lives, and their connection to the Appalachian community are interrupted.

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For decades, summer orientation has been an enduring rite of passage for incoming first-year college students. Like so many other staid traditions, however, summer orientation as we know it has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this final installment of Engagement, Interrupted, rising senior Summer Orientation Undergraduate Leader Justing Marks, who is also a member of the ACT Team and a brother of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, discusses how he and his fellow SOULs are using humor, creativity, and a little gumption to bring the usual energy to the new orientation.

 

As Bri Carter points out, "they say that students that are more involved do better in their classes." Bri is a dedicated member of Appalachian State's ACT team and chairperson of the Student Government Association's Wellness Committee - so how has she adapted to the new normal brought about by COVID-19? Find out in this edition of Engagement, Interrupted.

 

For some students, the switch to remote learning and moving back home during the COVID-19 pandemic lightened the load; for others, it created even more obstacles. Kyndavee Bichara, Black Student Association president and member of Appalachian State's track team, discusses how the coronavirus disrupted her semester, and how she and her teammates plan to pick back up.

 

For some students, the news that classes would be remote and graduation would be virtual wasn't all that heartbreaking... but the idea of losing an on-campus job was. In this edition of Engagement, Interrupted, senior Rachel Newton shows how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted students even outside the classroom.

 

Dealing with a pandemic that disrupts campus life makes staying engaged as a student leader tricky, but not impossible. In this episode of Engagement, Interrupted, sophomore Ethan Diaz reflects on how it feels to miss out on end-of-year a capella performances, discusses how he and other members of Club Council have adapted to the situation, and shares his experiences as a front-line service worker in the midst of a virus outbreak.

 

Aaron Carpenter is double-majoring in both Cellular Molecular Biology and Psychology. In what is perhaps an extremely convoluted act of evolutionary preservation, the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented Aaron Carpenter from participating in a summer internship with a biological technology firm. Find out what else Aaron will be missing, and what he plans to do instead, in this installment of Engagement, Interrupted.

 

Just as she was settling into a relaxing time at the beach, Brigitte Kelly, Director of Elections for Appalachian State's Student Government Association, got the news that spring break was being extended. While most students would take this as great news, Brigitte had an election to run. Listen to find out how she moved the entire election process online, and how that process has helped her (not) address the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Imagine spending spring break leading an Alternative Service Experience in the Dominican Republic when you find out that you may not be going to class for the rest of the semester - and that even your flight home might be in jeopardy. That's what happens to Ashley Bisby in this edition of Engagement, Interrupted.

 

Sadie Maddock is the Editor in Chief of The PEEL, AppState's student-run literature and arts review. Although they were nearly ready to send the most recent edition to the printer, fate (and COVID-19) had other plans. Listen to hear how, instead of being disheartened, Sadie and the rest of the students who run The PEEL have adapted.

 

In the very first edition of Engagement, Interrupted, we talk with Alex Brody, a student leader who put in countless hours of work to organize BooneBox, Appstate's very first music festival, only to watch it all slip away because of COVID-19.