Virtual Raft to keep CSUMB connected during the pandemic

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) has had to cancel the majority of its events and congregations. In response, Associated Students (AS), the Otter Student Union (OSU) and other CSUMB organizations have stepped up to provide varieties of digital services under the Virtual Raft initiative.

In CSUMB tradition, a raft symbolises connectivity, as sea otters link arms to form long chains that float together in the ocean. The Virtual Raft is meant to link the CSUMB community in the same way, using a host of virtual resources.

AS is rolling out several events a week under the Power On series. Programs range from informational to recreational, making use of both Instagram Live and Zoom. The AS instagram (@AS_CSUMB) is also facilitating participation through all-day events on Instagram, such as Tik Tok Tuesday.

The Stay Informed with your AS President event is a regular forum where students can communicate directly with AS President Ana Gonzales through Zoom. The 2020-2021 AS elections were still held and voting took place online from April 14 to April 16.

OSU is also hosting a variety of virtual events. Recurring events include Monte’s Music, held on the music streaming platform JQBX on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Thursday Night Trivia through Kahoot. Workshops and keynotes by guest speakers are scheduled to happen over Zoom. The Otter Cross Cultural Center (OC3) is remaining active online, with its Self Care in Action Week to take place through various online platforms from May 4 through May 8.

Because the CSUMB library is closed, the majority of its resources (outside of physical books) have been moved online. The Cooperative Learning Center (CLC) is taking appointments and holding small lectures through Zoom. In lieu of offering physical resources for Sexual Assault Awareness month, the CSUMB library website has posted resources related to the cause.

Various CSUMB social media accounts have started using #VirtualRaft on their posts, encouraging students and faculty to join in with photos and videos of themselves sheltering in place. #WeAreMB is also used to unite the CSUMB community over social media.

For prospective students and families, the Admitted Otter Days events was moved online. Although tours and visits have been cancelled, those interested in the campus are able to do virtual tours through the PocketSights app.

President Eduardo Ochoa has reached out to the CSUMB community twice through video, once on March 23 following the pandemic recess and again on April 5 following spring break.

“It’s been the traditional Otter spirit, the can-do spirit, the spirit of innovation, the spirit of commitment and collaboration and engagement, that has shown through in this challenging time,” Ochoa said in his April 5 video.

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