College students around the country are reaching out on social media to other students to try to preserve some of the social life that comes with college. Some joke they attend ‘Zoom University,’ a reference to the online conferencing platform many schools are choosing for online classes.
‘Zoom University’ has extended to offer Greek life, in the form of a Facebook group called Zeta Omicron Omicron Mu. The group elects officers, like any other Greek organization. One of the co-presidents is political science junior McKenzie Connelly.
Mia Levine, a freshman at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, said her school actually doesn’t have Greek life, but she decided to join this group anyway.
“You might be wondering, ‘Why join a Greek life group if you’re not a part of Greek life?’” Levine said. “I wanted to meet as many new people as possible and take advantage of a pretty bad situation.”
The group has a matchmaking form for singles, a form to find friends, and a big/little selection process. Any student on Facebook can go to the Zeta Omicron Omicron Mu Facebook page and make a request to join the group. There are also religious groups, groups to play games like Dungeons and Dragons together and a group for people who enjoy writing.
These groups aim to help students stay social, even if it’s just online, which many say has helped them get through this stressful time.
“I love seeing posts and just communicating with people,” Levine said. “Before this Facebook wasn’t such a big deal to me--I’d check it once or twice a week. Now I check in one or twice a day just for a laugh or to have some nice news in my day.”
Monica Sager is a junior at Clark University and is one of the administrators for the Zoom University Hillel group.
“We’ve been able to grow it with the other admins to include over 13,000 students now,” Sager said. “It’s really been great to see everyone meeting each other and making new friends. It’s been a great distraction but also a great way to have a laugh and smile during the chaos of coronavirus.”
The groups aren't just for socializing; many have also compiled lists of links to help students through this pandemic. On the Zeta Omicron Omicron Mu page, there is a list of resources for social distancing, resources for undocumented communities, and places to find discounted books. The group also sold merchandise and raised $615 for COVID-19 research efforts.
Nicole Rosen is a senior at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. She is one of the officers for the Zoom Harry Potter Club and is the Discord Manager for the Zoom D&D Group.
“I joined Zoom [University] because a friend of mine recommended it to me and it looked fun,” Rosen said. “It’s been helping me through these times because I’ve met a lot of new people and feel like I’m on my way to making a lot of new friends.”