In-person events and learning help create a sense of community at CSUSM


Photo courtesy of Pixabay on Pexels.

Students greatly benefit from in-person learning and events at CSUSM.

Jaelyn Decena, Arts & Entertainment Editor

As we go further into the semester with more students, faculty and staff getting vaccinated, CSUSM’s campus is slowly  returning to a sense of normality once again. While there is much unpredictability surrounding transitioning back to fully traditional learning, multiple departments at CSUSM are holding in-person events.

One department that has mostly transitioned to holding in-person events being  the Theatre Arts department. This decision has allowed for Theatre Arts majors and minors to fully experience performing in front of a live audience. In comparison to last semester’s Zoom performances, the events are no longer at the discretion of unreliable internet, muting and unmuting microphones and waiting for someone else’s cue.

For the Theatre Arts department, the ability to perform in front of a  live audience creates opportunities for the audience and performers to connect. This connection between the two was simply unachievable through Zoom performances, as performing for theatre is significantly different than that of a television show.

Students can also look forward to in-person events being held by CSUSM, ASI and other student organizations. One of the first events, Welcome Week, allowed for students to bond with one another and created a community environment with food trucks and outdoor games.

With more in-person events happening this semester, students can also expect things like drive-in movie nights, game nights, as well as free movie tickets. Of course, CSUSM still attempts to keep students safe by requiring masks at all events. Some events even go hybrid for students who prefer to enjoy the event at home.

However, even with events being held in person, there are many subtle benefits to transitioning back to a traditional learning environment.

One aspect of a traditional learning environment that creates a sense of community with students would be the simplicity of studying with peers. Even though the majority of students study with headphones on, not acknowledging anyone else in the room, being able to be in the library sitting amongst other students helps us escape to a sense of normalcy that we haven’t had in over a year.

Furthermore, transitioning to traditional learning helps  students establish relationships with professors and faculty. Typically with online learning, it’s a bit more challenging to be able to communicate with professors and for professors to genuinely get to know their students.

With in-person learning, professors no longer have to stare at a screen of a bunch of names. Traditional learning allows professors to have an understanding of who their students are, their personalities, what interests them and what students need to succeed in their classes.

Yes, hybrid courses are keeping students safe, but a traditional learning environment proves to have many benefits to it. Even with these limitations of online learning, students and faculty are trying their best to make it work.

Being able to really bond with professors, faculty and peers is exactly what makes us proud to be Cougars.