One club that has experienced major changes amidst the COVID-19 crisis is Interact, one of the biggest community service clubs on campus. In response to the stay-at-home order and the general concerns about public health, Interact had to cancel numerous events including several in-person guest speaker events, International Night, a charity dinner and a benefit show. However, this did not stop them from finding various other methods to bring these experiences to their members, like setting up Zoom calls and conducting the speaker events through an online format.
“With our unexpected limitations from the shelter-in-place, we were definitely saddened from the canceling of our events,” said junior Helen Hu, Vice President of Interact. “However, we were still able to bring guest speakers over Zoom, such as when we featured an employee at Teen Challenge who shared about our Community Project, fighting substance abuse, and hosted a brief Q&A.”
To keep members engaged even when away from school, the officer team has worked hard to offer new service opportunities that can be performed remotely as well. For instance, members were encouraged to write both physical letters and emails to those living in senior centers in order to offer them some kind words during these stressful times.
“We know that many seniors may not be able to have as many visitors during this time, so we wanted to send them letters of love and encouragement,” Hu said. “Members have sent letters that include pictures of their pets, funny stories and words of encouragement.”
Interact also partnered with Cupertino Rotary, the adult branch of Interact, in efforts to find more senior centers to work with. After additional discussion, Cupertino Rotary is also now donating $1 per letter the members write, and the team is planning to donate 60 percent of the proceeds to our Community and International Projects and 40 percent to a COVID-19 relief fund.
In adjusting to this national pandemic, the Interact officer team learned to grow from this experience and to make the most out of it that they can. Whether it be learning how to efficiently host events online or coming up with more creative ways for members to stay engaged, the team took advantage of this situation and did not let it hinder them from providing their members with meaningful experiences with the community.
“The shelter in place has broadened our horizons and has given us more ideas for volunteering events we can do in the future,” Hu said. “We’ve really used this COVID-19 pandemic as a chance to adapt.”