Student Organizations Rising to the Challenge of a Hybrid Semester

When Miami began the semester remotely in August, student organizations adapted quickly to preserve the Miami experience for incoming and returning students. Student leaders continue to demonstrate their resiliency, resolve, and creativity in staying engaged and connected.

“Miami student organization members are so creative and continue to blow me away with their ingenuity,” said Kim Vance, director of student activities and the Cliff Alexander office of fraternity and sorority life. “Every day we hear of more plans that groups have developed so they can follow the rules and still practice their passion. They will find a safe way to connect with their peers, focus on the mission of the group, and help in the community.”  


To kick off the year, the office of student activities hosted a virtual Mega Fair on August 23, with over 1,200 attendees through a new feature in the Hub, Miami’s student organization management tool. The event gave students the opportunity to learn about Miami’s many organizations through chat and video calls. 

“Virtual Mega Fair was a lot more informative than I had originally thought it would be,” said first-year student Anthony Zayed. “While I’m still interested in more clubs, it was a great stepping stone to get involved.”

A second virtual Mega Fair will be held on Sunday, September 27, providing another opportunity for student organizations to recruit new members.


Screenshot of about 25 student at an EcoReps virtual meetingBeyond Mega Fair, many organizations have approached online meetings and interactions in unique and creative ways. Some organizations have embraced Miami’s recent integration with Zoom, and have found the breakout rooms feature to be particularly helpful in facilitating interaction. 

“We were worried about how we could keep members who are electing to stay remote engaged and invested in our group,” said Senior Derek Cowels, president of Open Fifth a cappella. “But through a steady flow of communication in our GroupMe and committing to scheduled Zoom meetings, we’ve been able to accomplish a lot already.” 

Virtual Events

Student organizations have also gotten creative with virtual programming, both synchronously through Zoom and WebEx and asynchronously through social media. Some events include picking up or dropping off supplies to complete a project independently. 

Some organizations are embracing all three of these options. 

“Our virtual programs consist of trivia, hosting real-time performers like a mind reader, virtual escape rooms and more,” said said LeeAnn Burczynski, president of Miami Activities and Programming (MAP). “Our social media events include brackets, pumpkin carving contests and a pizza giveaway.” MAP is also hosting a succulent plant pickup on September 24. 

"Obviously it is not the semester anyone dreamed of, but it is an opportunity for change, innovation, and new ideas."

-Jordyn Thompson, President of AKA


Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. (AKA) Lambda Mu chapter and Kappa Alpha Theta hosted a Linus Project blanket-making event this month. The Linus Project provides blankets to children of all ages in the hospital. 

“We made blankets for [the Linus Project] last year during NPHC week and it was a great event,” said Jordyn Thompson, president of AKA. 

The chapter actively looks for service opportunities and ways to give back to the community. “We reached out to the Linus Project to see if they were still accepting blankets during this time,” said Thompson. “They said yes, and that they needed blankets badly. So we immediately had the idea to make blanket kits to deliver to students on campus so that they can get involved as well.”

Students signed up with a form on their Instagram account, then chapter leaders delivered blanket supplies to participants to complete and return. 

“We thought this was the perfect opportunity to give students something they can do from their dorms or houses and for a great cause,” said Thompson. “The Linus Project just asked that all blankets be sealed in a plastic bag and they will properly wash them once they receive them.”

Thompson, a senior Public Health major with a minor in Fashion, is happy and thankful to be leading an organization, regardless of the pandemic. “I think it is really important that everyone stop looking at this semester as ‘unfortunate’,” said Thompson. “Obviously it is not the semester anyone dreamed of, but it is an opportunity for change, innovation, and new ideas. We all need to stop thinking about the things we can't do, and start brainstorming what we can do.”