The University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Student Events Board will continue to host around 60 in-person and online events throughout the fall 2020 semester. SEB’s in-person events, ranging from paint nights to open mics, will be held outside every Friday and will follow social distancing guidelines. The organization’s three weekly online events will take place on a variety of platforms, including Webex, Instagram and Facebook.
With no flyers and less word of mouth advertising and with more events held online, SEB’s Vice President of Design Tirzah Khan said social media marketing is crucial to let students know events are still happening.
“It’s become really important for us to focus specifically on making our social media as beautiful and engaging as we can possibly make it,” Khan said.
President of SEB Danielle Astrid Nyamsi Foyet said that, while the organization wanted to better their social media presence, it was the pandemic and the dispersing of students that forced them to change.
SEB’s teams of designers and marketers are responsible for the creation and publication of the online media flyers. Foyet said that these flyers take multiple forms, from Instagram Story posts to animations on Twitter, and all are focused on being as attractive to UMBC students as possible.
While SEB will still host events in-person, the list of planned events is limited due to safety requirements. Besides social distancing, the board had to consider how to hand out materials for activities in a safe manner. For their paint nights, instead of the usual table of grab-and-go supplies, SEB will pre-pack all materials for students to take upon arriving at the event.
For their online events, SEB members determined the lineup based on what they felt was most interesting and useful for students. At the start of quarantine, SEB members created events like cooking tutorials and trivia nights that they hoped spiced up students’ quarantines.
This semester, the board is focused on building and maintaining connections between students despite the fact that many students will not be on campus. Khan explained that SEB is not trying to return to normal events, but rather, wants to build connections in the new normal of the pandemic.
“Their health and happiness is still at the forefront of our minds and hearts and, obviously, all the work that we’re doing, we’re doing it for the students,” Khan said.
Foyet believes that SEB’s ability to narrow down events to the ones that have the most significance to students has been a positive outcome of the pandemic. To her, it helps SEB fulfill their role in connecting the UMBC community.
“Especially during this time, if our events impact one person out of a thousand people, that’s so much,” Foyet said. “One person could be having the worst day ever and attend our event and just have this amazing time and that’s really what we strive to do.
While SEB always wants students to come to their events, Foyet and Khan see bridging the physical gap between students as more crucial than ever.
“Now, it’s so much more important because in a way, besides classes and things like that, a lot of times we’re students’ only connection back to campus, back to other human beings. So, it’s really been important for us to try and help out as much as we can,” Khan said.
In doing more to help students, SEB has put a greater focus on civic and social engagement in their events. Khan explained that, after the killing of George Floyd, SEB’s Vice President Board felt they could no longer restrict themselves to “comfort events.” Since that decision, SEB has partnered with other organizations like the UMBC Black Student Union and created a highlight series that features a variety of works by Black creatives.