Editor's Note: Learn how to start a CDN Chapter at your school here.
Going into quarantine, the CDN Chapter at my school wasn’t exactly a full Chapter yet. We were just a small group of students that had first connected in January, but we were all determined to fill the same need at our university. None of us had experienced a community on campus where we had access to other students with type 1 diabetes, so we recognized the importance of building a space where we could create new connections and enable others to do the same.
Our path was definitely unusual; we had to adapt and virtually create our Chapter almost entirely through online meetings and texting. We started to make headway during the first month of quarantine when we applied to become affiliated at our university and coincidentally found a great faculty advisor with type 1. However, we also faced many unexpected difficulties with our new, sudden situation: scheduling, connecting in online meetings, and finding new members.
In the first few weeks, Zoom was a new platform to all of us, but we all got used to it rather quickly. I found that the platform lends itself to being accessible and inclusive. In a Zoom meeting, you’re able to see every single person’s face. The option for hosts to share their screen gives a constructive, visual component, especially if you’re able to display an agenda or talking points. Given the circumstances, Zoom has been a fantastic tool to keep on pace and to remain productive.
"I think just taking things slow and not overwhelming everybody with information or commitment has helped the most."
"If I had been in a similar position entering college, I know that having one person on campus that I could reach out to would help to ease mine and my parents’ anxieties about having a campus support system."
Many colleges and universities are hosting online orientations where it can be harder to connect and create friendships before starting in the fall, so the impact of reaching out to incoming freshmen can be tremendous. If I had been in a similar position entering college, I know that having one person on campus that I could reach out to would help to ease mine and my parents’ anxieties about having a campus support system.
I think that everybody recognizes that these times are extraordinary and that it’s okay to make mistakes, especially when you’re figuring out what’s best for you and your Chapter. We’re all still learning as we go, and there is no one way to go about meeting and engaging with your Chapter. Just stick with it and be flexible!