Even though Clarkies are longer on campus, they are still finding a multitude of ways to connect and keep our community alive. From paint and trivia nights to yoga and career talks, students are coming together from their various quarantine locations across the world.
The virtual continuation of programming can be attributed to Allie Shilling, director of student life, as well as the Clark Undergraduate Student Council (CUSC) Executive Board and various student leaders and campus offices.
“It’s important to think outside the box of what students typically need emotionally, mentally, physically, and personally,” says Shilling. “As I watched the last few weeks unfold, I am overjoyed by the sense that ‘we are in it together.’ My hope is that the bonds students have created with each other will guide their realities when we’re back on campus, and we’ll emerge stronger than ever.”
The CUSC e-board, comprising Emma Dinnerstein ’20, Eunice Dollete ’21, Ivette Mendoza ’21, and Domenica Cevallos ’21, has been a tremendous force when it comes to advocating for Clarkies and helping them stay connected. Dinnerstein herself has hosted two “Dinnertime with Emma Dinnerstein” events, where she livestreams herself on Instagram from her kitchen in Blackstone Hall to teach Clarkies delicious recipes they can make while social distancing.
“Many of the newly implemented resources on campus have been developed because a student reached out to a member of CUSC, and CUSC reached out to a Clark administrator,” says Shilling. “They are a force to be reckoned with and will always been remembered by students and Clark administration as a team who left their legacy, and left Clark, a much better place than when they arrived.”
Dinnerstein also is part of the “Student Engagement QuaranTeam.” The on-campus student group — the other members are Mitchell Williams ’20, MK Campbell ’20, and Lauren Oliveira ’20 — has been hosting workshops, study sessions, activities, and conversations to keep Clarkies entertained during quarantine.
Williams, for example, hosts The Activity Corner, which has events like “Reading Rug,” where he reads his favorite short stories and poems aloud in front of a fireplace. Oliveira hosts painting and sewing tutorials for students to follow, and Campbell and Dinnerstein host true-crime discussions for Clarkies who are “avid listeners of true crime podcasts and documentaries.”
“Clarkies are truly one of a kind,” says Shilling. “The support they have been giving each other during these uncertain and stressful times has been nothing short of amazing.”
In addition to student clubs hosting events, offices across campus have been stepping up to offer students things they might need during this stressful time. The Careers Connections Center has hosted career-specific dialogues with alumni to help students who are searching for jobs and internships, the Center for Counseling and Personal Growth has been hosting yoga and mindfulness practices, and the Study Abroad and Away Office has hosted “global gabs” to help students stay connected to global cultures.
“As always, the world is viewed from as many lenses as there are people in this world,” says Shilling. “I hope that our 3,100 students, who have different views and unique angles, are seeing Clark University as a support, resource, and place they can always call home.”