Ice Skating, Jonathan’s Challenge among Student Activities push for Student Engagement

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In an effort to push student engagement, the University of Connecticut Department of Student Activities is planning a variety of in-person and online activities to entertain students. One of these activities is being called “Jonathan’s Challenge”, where students who sign up will be eligible to earn points and prized each week, simply for participating in a range of different events with other students. Photo retrieved via the University of Connecticut’s U-Kindness webpage.

With the spring semester now in full swing, the University of Connecticut Department of Student Activities is planning a variety of in-person and online activities to entertain students, ranging from special challenges to an ice skating rink.  

Dr. Joseph P. Briody is the Interim Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs & Director of Student Activities. He detailed how Student Activities will try to engage students this semester and provide social engagement to students.  

“Another new program is Jonathan’s Challenge – a University wide initiative to promote and recognize student engagement and participation in events/activities happening across the University (virtual and in-person, all campuses),” Briody said. “Students who sign up for the Challenge will earn points and be eligible for prizes every week and at the end (a Grand Prize!) just for participating in a range of different events with other students.” 

““Students who sign up for the [Jonathan’s] Challenge will earn points and be eligible for prizes every week and at the end (a Grand Prize!) just for participating in a range of different events with other students.” 

Dr. Joseph P. Briody, Interim Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs & Director of Student Activities

Another opportunity being provided this semester involves the new ice skating rink, where Student Activities will host skating sessions each week, typically Thursdays through Sundays. Students will need to pre-register for a timeslot and bring their IDs to the rink. Skates will be available for free and sessions will last about 45 minutes. Student Activities will also try to reschedule sessions that are cancelled due to weather or other conditions.  

The last activity Briody emphasized was the Community Connectors Initiative, which gives students a live chat to learn about one another.  

U-Kindness, also known as the Community Connectors Initiative, that pairs students with other students to engage in conversation not only to learn about one another, but to learn about different resources available on campus. Photo retrieved via University of Connecticut’s uKindess webpage.

“A third opportunity for students who may not know where to begin is the Community Connectors initiative, which is a real-time, student-to-student online chat where students can learn about a host of student organizations, offices, programs and ways to connect,” Briody said.  

Briody said he understands how hard socialization and connection was for students last semester and hopes that Student Activities can take what it learned last semester and try to provide more fun and engagement this semester. 

“The engagement/connection gap last semester was huge and took its toll on students … I think we also learned – or again were reminded – of the importance of collaboration and communication across our University and particularly with our students.”  

Joseph P. Briody, Interim Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs & Director of Student Activities

“I think one of the many things we learned – or were reminded of – was just how many ways students engage and connect during a typical (non-pandemic) semester,” Briody said. “The engagement/connection gap last semester was huge and took its toll on students … I think we also learned – or again were reminded – of the importance of collaboration and communication across our University and particularly with our students.”  

These activities, as well as more virtual and in-person events and mental health resources, can be found at the U-Kindness website at https://kindness.studentaffairs.uconn.edu/.  

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