In February, the University of Winnipeg (U of W) Students’ Association (UWSA) announced a series of game nights, open to all students. These virtual events are held every other Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. and aim to be a casual way for students and UWSA directors to connect.
UWSA president Shawna Péloquin says the idea for these events came from her positive experience with other student groups hosting similar game-themed activities.
“I wanted us to do something in the same kind of way,” she says. “For us, it is also a good opportunity to get the (UWSA) board of directors to meet with students.”
So far, there have been two game nights. The games played have been drawn from Jackbox, a web-based party-game site. Players are able to join from any location via their smartphone or computer. The next event will be held on March 11 at 4 p.m.
Sam Sarty, the UWSA events manager, is involved in organizing these game nights.
“The turnout is always a bit of a mystery, but we hold the space for two hours,” she says. “The games don’t go that long. It’s meant for people to drop in and out.”
Péloquin, who was elected last November, says the UWSA aims to provide a friendly space for all with these events. “You can make friends or learn more about the UWSA,” she says.
According to Sarty, one of the main reasons the UWSA decided to pursue this project is that online learning makes it difficult for students to connect with each other.
“We just wanted to offer something that was really consistent, low-pressure and low-key,” she says.
Throughout this academic year, online events have been the go-to format for U of W student groups seeking to maintain a presence during the era of remote learning.
Sarty notes that the constant changes in provincial COVID-19 restrictions has made it difficult for the UWSA to plan events for students. However, activities like these game nights have given them an easy way to connect with the school community.
“For us, the main focus is to just be able to offer low-barrier, baseline interaction spaces,” Sarty says. “Just to cultivate that (community that we usually have on campus) virtually is really important.”
The UWSA has a few other events organized for the remainder of the term as well. Songwriting with Rey, jointly organized with Studio 393, is a beginner songwriting workshop led by a local artist. The first session took place on Feb. 26, and there are two more this semester: March 26 and April 30 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The remaining game nights for this semester are on March 11, March 25, April 8 and April 22. For information on how to join, visit theuwsa.ca/2021/02/meet-your-directors-uwsa-game-night.
Published in Volume 75, Number 20 of The Uniter (March 3, 2021)