Reopening Campus: Building Student Community Amid COVID Restrictions



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How can you build community while navigating ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines?


As more institutions announce their reopening plans for fall 2021, Student Affairs leaders are faced with a challenge: How might building community among undergraduate students look different when campuses reopen amid shifting COVID-19 safety restrictions? 

Join us online for a 2-hour, highly interactive discussion and brainstorming session around this topic, focusing in on three key areas of Student Life: Orientation, Housing, and Student Activities. Our facilitators will share how their campuses are approaching their planning while navigating state, local, and institutional COVID-19 guidelines. You will actively participate in large and small group discussions framed around questions such as:    

  • How might these critical areas of student life look different as restrictions loosen? 
  • What creative new approaches can we take to build community in this new, post-COVID-19 context? 
  • How can we address isolation while also encouraging COVID-safe behaviors among students? 
  • What steps can we take now to enable quick pivots if a campus outbreak occurs? 
  • What positive practices have come out of the pandemic that we will want to continue moving forward? 

We recognize that institutions are grappling with different elements of student community building depending upon their institutional type, size, state regulations, and a variety of other factors. Our aim for the session will be to build a network of peers to share challenges, successes, and strategies around community building in this new, shifting context and work together to curate a list of ideas to try and questions to ask.  


Who Should Attend

This training will primarily benefit Student Affairs leaders. Other institutional leaders who are serving on task forces or planning committees related to the fall 2021 reopening of campus may also find this discussion valuable. 

The Academic Impressions Online Learning Experience

Intentionally Designed
Online Learning

Our virtual trainings go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these experiences are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. These trainings provide you with an active learning environment and an online space where you can explore ideas, get inspired by what your peers are doing, and understand the range of possibilities around a certain topic. You will leave these sessions with practical solutions that you can take back to your team or task force.

What you will get:

  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Guidance from vetted subject matter experts
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions


May 20, 2021

1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Eastern

This two-hour virtual training will begin with our expert facilitators setting the stage and sharing their current thinking and institutional approaches to building community in this post-pandemic context. We will work together as a group to brainstorm ideas, strategies, and challenges around community building for undergraduates within the following areas (questions listed are intended to be illustrative, not exhaustive):


  • How might orientation look different this year? What elements of virtual orientations might continue and what should be face-to-face?



  • How can we address an outbreak in a residence hall? With more rooms being filled, where will we have students isolate in the case of a positive COVID test? What kind of training and support will RA’s need to prepare them for this new era?



Student Activities
  • How can we rethink campus traditions––such as welcome week or homecoming––to ensure we are working within COVID regulations? What steps can be taken to encourage safety among student-led events?


Portrait of Romando Nash

Romando Nash

AVP for Student Life Services, University of Nevada Reno

Romando brings a strong portfolio of experience that helps him succeed in leading division and institutional initiatives around student success for an increasingly diverse student body. He was previously the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at San Jose State University and has held associate dean and director positions in student affairs at the University of Southern California, Loyola University, Seattle University and Santa Clara University.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

Portrait of Smita Ruzicka

Smita Ruzicka

Dean of Student Life, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Smita Ruzicka serves as Dean of Student Life at Johns Hopkins University, where she provides leadership for a wide portfolio of services and programs aimed to enhance the overall student experience. Her portfolio includes student leadership and involvement, diversity and inclusion, health and wellness, residential life, crisis management and support services. She has over 15 years of experience in higher education, having served in leadership roles at Tulane University and The University of Texas at Austin prior to arriving to JHU in 2018.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.


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