Student Organizations Adapt During Virtual Semester
At a time when in-person meetings have become video conferences and events have become webinars, many student organizations are finding new ways to engage with peers and continue their professional development despite social distancing limitations.
Members of several organizations affiliated with FSU’s College of Social Sciences and Public Policy have shared what it means to be a part of their respective organizations, how their participation has impacted their college experience and plans for honoring organizational mission statements during a virtual semester.
Student Leadership Council
The Student Leadership Council (SLC) serves as a liaison group between the student body of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy (COSSPP) and Florida State University. The council provides programming to enhance the values of scholarship, leadership and service for COSSPP students.
During this virtual semester, SLC Chair Faith Jankowski says the SLC is finding new ways to engage students in the college.
“We are excited to present events centered around student research from the COSSPP, FSU resources for students in partnership with the FSU Career Center, and virtual service opportunities,” Jankowski said. “We have also been working to make campus more inclusive by pushing for FSU’s administration to enable a feature on Canvas allowing students to display their pronouns.”
Other members of the council, including Service Committee Co-Chair Amelia Jacobs, have further expressed that being a part of the SLC means listening to students, advocating for their voices and ensuring their needs are met.
“This semester I am so excited to take the service committee in a new direction, focusing on responsible and respectful service to the Tallahassee community,” Jacobs said. “So many students express a desire to give back to the city that provides us with a home during our college years, and it is my hope that the SLC can provide programming that meets the needs of our students as well as meeting the needs of the Tallahassee community.”
Global Peace Exchange
Established in 2006, The mission of Global Peace Exchange (GPE) is to engage students in supporting sustainable partnerships in the local community and around the world.
GPE Co-Director Giovan Toval was initially afraid of what the pandemic would mean for the organization. How is an organization that is geared toward sending students abroad going to operate if there are travel restrictions?
In response to this, GPE students are focusing on local projects, such as a partnership with the nonprofit network Herbalists Without Borders, to make moringa-based herbal medicine for distribution in Winter Wellness Kits in Tallahassee. GPE members have also had the opportunity to remotely volunteer with Iracambi a Non-Governmental Organization in Brazil.
“These times have opened GPE up to new possibilities of engaging members safely,” Toval said. “I am proud to say that GPE has a bright future ahead regardless of challenges thrown at us.”
Outreach Chair Isabella Frazier is also pleased with how GPE members have stepped up as the organization continues to grow.
“I have been so impressed with the initiative taken by this year’s GPE cohorts to redirect their attention to feasible global service that can be done within the boundaries placed upon them in our new reality,” Frazier said. “The uncertainty of international travel and service for this upcoming summer did not deter new member participation, and this really shows that there is truly a commitment to service within GPE.”
One of those new members is freshman and general member Hannah Burke.
“I feel relieved to have found GPE, as it gives me a community of like-minded individuals who all wish to give back in some manner,” Burke said. “I have much to learn from the organization, and I look forward to it.”
Get involved and learn more about GPE on their official website.
Events are updated regularly on the organization’s Instagram.
World Affairs Program
Top-ranked for its success in Model UN and Crisis Simulation competitions across the U.S. and Canada, the FSU World Affairs Program (WAP) is a student-run academic program within the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, that gives students a social, academic and competitive outlet in an educational setting.
The primary mission of the World Affairs Program is to promote an increased awareness of the global community and encourage personal and professional growth among those who participate in the program.
This fall, WAP has organized weekly virtual programming that includes Model United Nations (MUN) trainings, guest speakers and important joint discussions with local community and student organizations to discuss such topics as COVID-19, international politics, the LGBTQ Movement, police reform, immigration and more.
The Model UN team trains every Tuesday and is open to all students. Trainings are separated and tailored to both new and experienced delegates.
General Body Meetings are held every Thursday to encourage campus debate and discussion. All official WAP events will occur at 8:00 p.m. over Zoom. Membership in the organization is both free and open to students of all majors and levels.
Click here to view upcoming WAP events and Zoom dial-in information.
Discipline-Specific Student Organizations
Units within the college have organizations established to allow students studying within specific disciplines and programs to network and share their knowledge and experiences and to connect them with alumni, guest speakers, conferences and research opportunities that expand on their academic and professional goals.
These groups are not generally open to all students but may sponsor events that anyone can attend. Students are encouraged to check with their programs and advisers for more information about how to get involved in these groups.
International Association of Emergency Managers
This student group affiliated with the Emergency Management and Homeland Security program was reformed this year after being disbanded in 2018.
The group has come back in a big way with a line-up of virtual events featuring speakers on current topics of interest, including former FEMA administrator Brock Long (on the future of disaster response) and UC Irvine ProfessorTodd Devoe (on the California wildfires).
“The goal of the FSU chapter of IAEM in the short term is to have a vibrant revival year that includes guest speakers representing many areas of the field, including unmanned aircraft systems, emergency management academia, disaster recovery and county-level disaster response, as well as to provide a conduit between students and the various networking and interning opportunities in the emergency management field,” explained Stefan Babin, president of the FSU chapter of the IAEM.
“The long term goal of the chapter is to be a vital beacon of emergency management education, involvement and professional development at Florida State University for decades to come,” he added. “Disasters aren’t going anyway anytime soon, and it’s imperative that aspiring young students be able to accessibly find their way into this profession year after year.”
To find out more about IAEM at FSU, visit their Facebook page.
Public Health Organization (undergraduates)
The Public Health Organization is a newly formed undergraduate Recognized Student Organization (RSO) created with the vision of allowing public health students to find a community of like-minded individuals to connect for academic, professional and social endeavors. The organization serves as a hub for public health majors to network, create study groups and share course recommendations.
Several virtual events will be available for members, including guest lectures, career workshops and creative fundraising opportunities for local COVID-19 relief efforts.
“We are planning virtual game nights and social events for members to connect with one another,” said the organization’s President Krista Alles. “Our club cares that its members feel connected and engaged. As a new club, we have hit the ground running and are implementing big ideas for our members to benefit from. This is a great way to be a student leader.”
All FSU students with an interest in public health are welcome to join. Applications will soon be made available for select officer positions. Connect with the Public Health Organization on Social Media and GroupMe:
Public Health Student Association (master’s students)
The Public Health Student Association (PHSA) provides opportunities and the tools necessary for public health graduate students to be successful through the awareness of internships, education of various public-health related topics and community service projects on and off campus.
The PHSA mission is to increase awareness of public health-related concerns and policies as well as facilitate and enhance the health status of Florida State University students, faculty, and its surrounding community.
“Remote learning has limited our ability to hold social events, however PHSA has still managed to engage students remotely,” PHSA Vice President Angela Caesar explained. “Through Zoom and our official MPH GroupMe, students within PHSA have still been able to interact with each other and get to know one another.”
For students interested in joining the association, Caesar said the organization is ready with open arms to welcome public health students.
“I didn’t know what to expect upon entering graduate school. But as a second-year student in the MPH program, I’ve developed numerous relationships with classmates and my professors over the past year,” she said. “This organization has transformed my college experience.”
The purpose of the Economics Club at FSU is to advance economic ideas, research and opportunities for its members. The organization hosts talks by faculty and neighboring economic research centers to build a network of bright economists.
This fall, club meetings are being held virtually and provide students with information on research opportunities, current event discussions, fun economics games and events, outreach to feeder schools and networking.
Applied economics graduate student and Economics Club President Shayna Cohen has been involved with the organization since she was a freshman at FSU.
“The programming, guest speakers and networking have allowed me to take the theories I learned in class and place them into a real-world context,” Cohen said. “Even now that everything is over Zoom, I am committed to providing engaging experiences for students.”
Any FSU student interested in economics is welcome to join. Meetings are held on alternating Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. on Zoom. Check the Economics Club Facebook page or Instagram Account for updates on events.
Public Administration Graduate Association
The Public Administration Graduate Association (PAGA) exists to enhance the educational experiences of M.P.A. and Ph.D. students of the Askew School by fostering communication among professionals, alumni, practitioners, faculty and students while providing services that assist student development both educationally and personally.
This fall, the association has adjusted to changes with school guidelines and the COVID-19 crisis and is offering all events online for the semester. Members have planned monthly virtual events, including a Local Leaders Webinar Series via Zoom and Facebook Live. The first session featured Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit Public Defender-Elect Jessica Yeary.
Association President Joseph Hennessy encourages COSSPP students to attend these virtual events.
“PAGA aspires to create spaces for students to network and grow together as professionals, and so we encourage you to participate in all our events this semester,” Hennessy said.
National Association for Business Economics
The FSU Chapter of the National Association for Business Economics prepares all traditional and applied economics majors and minors for the professional world they will meet after graduation. NABE hosts bi-weekly meetings featuring guest speakers with backgrounds in economics.
Members of the chapter have the opportunity to form a network of peers, develop professional skills and typically attend two NABE conferences each year. For this academic term, all 2020 mMeetings will be held via Zoom. Meeting dates for the Fall 2020 semester: September 9 & 23 • October 7 & 21 • November 4 & 18
Graduate Researchers of Geography
The Graduate Researchers of Geography (GRG) is a creative and supportive community for graduate students in the Department of Geography. The purpose of the organization is to unite graduate students while providing a forum for discussions on geographical, educational, pedagogical, or professional topics.
Pi Sigma Alpha
The Department of Political Science houses FSU’s Gamma Alpha chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society. Pi Sigma Alpha was founded in 1920 at the University of Texas to encourage and recognize superior achievement in the study of government and politics at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Pi Sigma Alpha is the only recognized political science college honor society and one of the largest members of the Association of College Honor Societies. Students become eligible for membership by attaining high standards of scholarship not only in the discipline of political science but in their overall academic work as well.
During the spring semester, the department invites qualifying students to join and holds an initiation ceremony during an annual awards reception.
Political Science Graduate Student Organization (PSGSA)
The Political Science Graduate Student Association serves as the main forum for graduate students to voice their opinions about department matters and a resource for helping graduate students to successfully complete their academic degrees. PSGSA is also the central coordinator of social and community service events for the graduate department. The group organizes a couple major initiatives within the department, including a mentorship program for incoming first-year students and an annual methods workshop. More info here.
Alpha Kappa Delta Honors Society
The Department of Sociology sponsors the Alpha of Florida chapter of the AKD Honors Society for undergraduate and graduate students. The organization offers opportunities for participating in leadership positions and allows sociology majors to engage with a network of students who share their professional interests.
Visit this link for more info and eligibility requirements.
Synoptikos, aka Urban and Regional Planning Student Association
This organization for planning students promotes professional and intellectual stimulation and the exploration of ideas outside formal classroom contents. It also sponsors social activities, assists new planning students and visiting educators and facilitates the exchange of information between the faculty, staff and students of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.
The group meets Monday evenings via Zoom. Find out more at this link.