The good news is that physical restrictions are no match for the advances of online technology and while actual meetups are restricted, online communities have become the sole medium of interaction for many students. One great showcase is the new online community StayRotterdam – an open channel on Slack created by EUR students. Within the online group, students will find a community with which to share art, have sustainability debates, host meme reviews or play online games likes Cards Against Humanity, chess or checkers.
Uniting lonely students
The group was founded and is maintained by three EUR students: Ricardo (Business Economics & Business (IBEB) 3rd year), Femke (IBEB 1st year) and Stephanie (Communication & Media 3rd year). “Our purpose was to unite people who may feel lonely right now or who are simply looking for entertainment. Our mission is to connect people while the current situation is still ongoing,” says co-founder Femke. Ricardo agrees: “I’m glad I know quite a lot of people so I never get bored, but I know others aren’t in the same situation and may feel isolated.”
When they join the Slack channel, a member can simply fill in a Google form telling the channel owners some of their interests – literature, art, cooking or games. When you submit the form, you will be included in the respective slack channels related to your interests where sub-communities can openly debate, share or join online video chats through Zoom.
Playing Pictionary with random strangers
At the heart of the group, you have the Game channel. The novel aspect of the game channel is that you end up playing fun online games with people you’ve never met before. Initially, you timidly join an online video call with other group members you haven’t really met before. Like you, the other members don’t really know most of the others in the group either and like you, they’ve been stuck in their homes for days. With a click of a button, you may end up spending your whole evening trying out your art skills in Skribbl, an online Pictionary.
The student-led initiative started last Wednesday with just twenty students. Now numbers have soared and the community boasts more than 280 new users. “I remember we were so happy with only twenty users. Now we have more than two hundred with no signs of slowing down,” says Ricardo.
The group is about more than just games and conversation in Slack. An actual itinerary is maintained by the group founders and other student collaborators. Talking about the itinerary, Femke was very ambitious about the group potential: “On Thursday evening, we had an online meditation session – people really enjoyed that. This Sunday we’re going to host an online workout session. We’re also in contact with Erasmus Sports so that we can include online workouts led by them.”
StayRotterdam is open to any student wishing to join. If you’re bored during this lockdown, you can simply reach out through their new Facebook group, or join them directly by using their Slack invitation.