It’s hard to fathom that just a few weeks ago we hosted Union Fest, one of our largest events of the year. Now, the same UNT community that came together to celebrate the Union finds themselves at home, encouraged to stay put to keep each other safe.
As defined by the CDC, social distancing is the practice of increasing the space between individuals and decreasing the frequency of contact to reduce the risk of spreading a disease (ideally to maintain at least 6 feet between all individuals, even those who are asymptomatic). To aid in this, UNT recently moved over 7,000 classes to online formats, non-essential personnel have been moved off campus, and only essential personnel and services are in place on campus. Now, we’re all working and learning remotely, apart from one another. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t great ways to stay connected to your friends and loved ones during these unprecedented events.
Netflix Party is a new way to watch Netflix with your friends online. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows. Now you can catch up on Stranger Things, check out the latest season of Ozark, or watch The Office for the billionth time, all with your friends!
Virtual Hang Outs
If instant connection is what you’re craving, communication apps and advances in technology have brought us things like Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Zoom – and they can be used for more than coursework! Most of the applications support multiple users at once, so you can enter a virtual hang out with a group of friends. Some ideas:
- Virtual Dinner Party
- Virtual Happy Hour (if you’re over 21 of course)
- Virtual Book Club
- Virtual Karaoke
- Virtual Coffee Break
Send Video Messages
If you’re more interested in passive connection, consider sending your friends and loved ones a video message. Snapchat has been around for while, but it’s far from the only option. Marco Polo, like Snapchat, allows you to send video messages that are a few seconds long. But unlike Snapchat, the videos are saved in a long running conversation with your friend or group of friends.
Face it. It’s time. You’ve long resisted downloading it, but I bet you did out of curiosity this week. TikTok – an app that has long been popular amongst younger Gen Z audiences, is rapidly gaining popularity during the pandemic. It’s short form video application and tools allow users to get creative, either humorously through skits and memes or artistically through choreography. Also, follow us @untunion – we’ll get back to making weird and funny stuff when we’re back on campus.
If your Twitter feed is anything like ours right now, it’s all Animal Crossing. The highly anticipated Nintendo Switch game dropped at the time we needed it the most. The popular simulation game is part of a long running franchise, but now on the Switch it allows users to visit your friends in the game.
Maybe you’re more of a traditional, table-top gamer. Whether you fancy Dungeons and Dragons or other fantasy role playing games, or other classic board games, the internet has made playing remotely possible. Don’t let being quarantined in your home or apartment keep you from continuing to enjoy game nights with your friends!
That’s about it for our list, but how are you staying connected? Let us know in the comments. Stay in touch with your friends and loved ones. It’s more important now than ever before. Keep safe UNT, be well, and wash those hands.
To stay up to date on the latest news and information regarding COVID-19’s impact to the UNT Community, visit healthalerts.unt.edu .
If anyone you know is experiencing tough times right now, please check out these resources: unt.edu/staygreen