Make the Most of Your College Experience During Remote Learning at APU

by Tobin Perry

No doubt about it—the college experience during remote learning is different from most years. But just because you aren’t attending classes in person because of COVID-19 doesn’t mean you don’t need personal connections with other students.

In fact, student connections are essential for your emotional and mental health—they can help you thrive academically, making these connections especially important during uncertain times.

“It’s important for students to stay engaged and connected in this season of remote learning because it helps them to find a community of support,” said Brittany Billar, associate dean of student engagement at Azusa Pacific University. “Everyone is experiencing different challenges. By being connected to the APU community, you don’t have to experience those challenges alone, and it’s important to know that you’re not the only one who is experiencing those same challenges.”

Because APU is committed to preparing students to make a difference in the world for Christ, the school has developed a suite of digital engagement opportunities. Student Affairs has always worked to provide the campus community with opportunities for holistic development, and its staff continue to strive toward that goal. In fact, the novel coronavirus has helped the department expand its influence and get even more creative.

How APU Is Creating Student Connection Opportunities

Azusa Pacific has undertaken a number of initiatives with the aim of enhancing the college experience during remote learning. Many resources are available, but chief among them is Together APU, created as a hub of information to support all students through this time. The website provides insight into APU efforts and areas of interest, including civic engagement, commuter life, special events, spiritual formation, and yes, remote learning tips. Other resources are offered as well, such as the Career Center and materials specific to graduate and professional students.

“Together APU is a website that has centralized all of Student Affairs’ events to help students stay connected to each other and includes relevant information and resources to provide support to students in their remote learning,” Billar explained.

8 Resources for Making the Most of Remote Learning

Ready to get started? Here are eight engagement opportunities you’ll find on Together APU that are designed to enhance the college experience during remote learning:

  1. APU’s Digital Campus on Discord. The school launched a digital campus on the Discord platform that enables undergraduate and graduate students to talk with one another based on their interests, majors, or activities. Students can even host a Netflix viewing party and play video games with one another through the digital campus.

    “The intention of the online community is for students to be able to have similar social interactions with each other like they would on Cougarwalk, waiting in the line at Starbucks, hanging out in the living areas, or walking to class,” Billar said. “This is a great way to meet other students and connect socially around common interests.”

  2. D-Groups. Online discipleship groups (called D-Groups) offer students an opportunity to grow in their faith and understanding of God’s love alongside other students. You’ll be able to schedule these weekly, two-hour meetings around your class schedule.

  3. Virtual Events. APU hosts online events designed to engage students in specific topics, including a Virtual Club Fair, where you can discover how to get involved in student clubs this fall. Also, Cougar Cares workshops allow students to learn how to promote positive well-being for themselves and their communities.

  4. Discipleship Mentoring Program. Students interested in one-on-one mentoring can be connected with an online mentor. The school has recruited mentors all around the world who will meet with you throughout the year to help you grow in your faith. More information on how to get connected is available on the Spiritual Formation page.

  5. Letters of Encouragement. 2020 is providing everyone with unique challenges. The University Counseling Center is encouraging students to write anonymous encouragement letters to one another this year. You can sign up to send and receive the letters on the Letters of Encouragement page.

  6. Commuter Life Corner. APU’s Office of Commuter Life is providing commuter students an opportunity to gather digitally so they can connect with one another and the university’s faculty. You can learn more about these programs and resources for commuter students on the Commuter Life Corner page.

  7. Student Government Association. Stay informed and engaged in campus advocacy for students with APU’s SGA. You can stay up-to-date with campus news and participate in virtual town halls on the Student Government Association page.

  8. Graduate and Professional Student Engagement. Opportunities and resources specific to graduate and professional students can be found on the Graduate and Professional Student Engagement hub. Participate in Learning Table events, share your thoughts with the Student Input Council, connect with SoulQuest for prayer and support, and more.

Curious to find out more about how you can get to know fellow students during remote learning? Visit Together APU and explore all the different areas you can find support for.