Ohio University’s spiritual community has been working hard to stay connected virtually with one another during a time of duress. Multiple organizations like the Ohio University Catholics and Hillel at Ohio University are hosting weekly online events to provide connection and comfort for their students.
It can be challenging to be apart from any community during a time like this, but technology has made it easier to remain connected and form lasting relationships with other students. Video conferencing has been especially helpful to bridge the distance gap between Bobcats and their favorite organizations. Students like Jessica Rutkowski, the Catholic Student Representative for Ohio University Catholics, have taken advantage of the technology available to help facilitate practices with her Campus Ministry.
Rutkowski spoke on the agility and adaptability her group has had, saying, “As a Campus Ministry, [we] provide Zoom calls or Instagram Lives every single day of the week.” She described the schedule, saying, “On Mondays, we all pray together as a community. Tuesdays we live stream an adoration service to adore the blessed sacrament. Wednesdays we have a little community “Chat-and-Chew” night where all of the community members are invited to make their own dinners and log onto a Zoom call just to catch up and share life together virtually. Thursdays we have someone on our ministry team actually teach a cardio dance class and on Fridays we [had] been doing stations of the cross each week to really enter into the Lenten season and prepare our hearts.”
Similarly, Sarah Livingston, the executive director of Ohio University Hillel expressed her group’s challenges from being separated during quarantine. “We’ve had to pivot into new territory, and it’s been a huge challenge, but it’s also been fun and creative to work with students to give them what they need in an innovative digital way,” the director said. “We miss the one-on-one interactions with students, our Jewish learning events, charity projects, social parties and our big Friday night Shabbat services/dinner each week.”
To stay connected with students, Hillel tries to have online events every week, with activities like Shabbat candle lighting, Facebook Live cooking classes and more.
Another option Livingston mentioned is virtual coffee dates, which she and her staff are willing to facilitate for students “who need a little FaceTime”. These events can help students maintain their faith communities and find some normalcy during an ever-changing time.
The Ohio University community has come together at a time of uncertainty to bridge the gaps of distance, and student organizations are providing an important vision for their communities as they continue to find ways to make their fellow Bobcats feel connected. The strength and resilience of Ohio University’s community have proven to be what sets the University apart.
For more information about Ohio University Catholics, visit their Twitter or YouTube pages. For more information about Ohio University Hillel, go to their Facebook page. For contact information for even more OHIO spiritual life student organizations, visit the Campus Involvement Center webpage.