By Kiana Dulan | Staff Writer
The Board of Student Activities hosted two online socials within the first two weeks of this fall semester. The first social event, “Had a Great Summer,” was held on Sept. 2, with a turnout of 14 students. Two days later, the second event was a “Valorant” tournament, a first-person shooter game live-streamed on Twitch with a max total of 30 viewers.
The “Had a Great Summer” social was met with a random Zoom bomber from Canada who dropped a number of expletives during an ugly 20-second rant. After booting this person from the virtual gathering, BOSA Advisor Romyn Sabatchi apologized for this and gave words of support to every student present.
“The more you keep talking about it, the more you give power to it,” Sabatchi said. “Instead of giving all the power to them, go back to the purpose and the intention of the event. … Have fun, meet other people, and socialize.”
Sisilia-Puleia Pooi, the BOSA Chairperson, said she now has “opened eyes about precautions,” proposing to have a sign-up sheet and to send the meeting link to only those who have RSVP’ed.
Aside from being Zoom bombed, these virtual social gatherings — which will have to continue as long as in-person gatherings are not permitted on campus — have presented a number of challenges for BOSA.
“There are so many things that go on behind the scenes,” Sabatchi said. “You have to create a safe and secure space for people to come into. How do you make sure people aren’t recording randomly on the side? How do you make sure people are coming in with the intentions of getting to know other people? It’s trusting that when people come in there, they come with good intentions.”
BOSA has tried to prepare for the online gatherings by rehearsing, but it’s impossible to predict all the potential issues that can crop up during a Zoom meeting, Sabatchi said.
There were also other logistical problems.
“Although virtual events mean we have [fewer] forms to fill out and [fewer] logistics problems to solve, getting student participation, and finding activities to do online is definitely challenging,” said BOSA Secretary Linda Tao.
“Zoom calls prevent people from having side conversations as well since they have to send a private chat instead of just speaking to one another,” Tao said. “More people may skip online events if they do not feel comfortable meeting new people over a Zoom call, and there’s no possible way to promote the event on campus.”
With video game tournaments, which have been popular on campus, BOSA has found it hard to decide which types of games and which games people may want to play. Some may prefer games such as “League of Legends” or “Smash,” so a “Valorant” tournament, was hosted on Friday, Sept. 4, with a livestream on Twitch. In this particular tournament, there were a total of two rounds, both of which were won by the attacking team.
The Discord channel for such events announced a Smash tournament in March, but changed the event to a “League of Legends” tournament due to coronavirus.
Office of Student Activities (OSA) student assistant Brandon Lau provided live commentary about the match. He was inspired to bring e-gaming to KapCC by other colleges such as UH-Mānoa and Hawaiʻi Pacific University, which also have hosted gaming tournaments.
E-sport competitions are usually hosted at specific venues but are easily translated to online events due to their digital nature.
“Now with all the Covid, people kinda think they have to stay away from each other, but that doesn’t mean you have to start ignoring people,” Lau said. “[Gaming] is a good way to connect to other people.”
Upcoming events BOSA will be hosting are the voting campaign on Sept. 15 in collaboration with Phi Theta Kappa, the on-campus honor society, and Service-Learning Pathways, an on-campus department aimed to integrate service-learning into the course curriculum. On Sept. 25, BOSA will broadcast a talent show through YouTube live. The group will ask for videos two weeks prior to the talent show and will announce more information once details are finalized. There will also be a RIO (Registered Independent Organization) social to recruit active students for clubs around campus.
Follow @kccbosa on Instagram for more details and upcoming virtual events.
“[Socializing] is gonna be difficult, and it may be hard, but I think that’s kind of the reality of what’s going on now,” Sabatchi said. “It’s possible to still socialize and still connect even if you’re not in person. I think because it’s new to a lot of people, it can be a little frightening, it can be a little scary, there’s a lot of unknowns and it can definitely cause anxiety, but I also think it can definitely create a lot of opportunity for people and for things to happen. … It’s kind of like that saying, ‘Wherever there’s a will, there’s a way.’ So I think if people want to make it happen and people are open to it, then it can happen.”