USOs: Planning Events during COVID

By Irina Boyko

We are now over a month into the Fall term and I hope everyone has comfortably settled into online learning. The whole online aspect for school definitely is not easy, especially if you are a social butterfly. It is very difficult to be a part of the social scene at university when most people are at home due to preventative measures of COVID-19. This makes it especially challenging for student groups to keep up their events and activities throughout the year because so many things are just not possible in our current situation. However, there are still many opportunities to plan a variety of events and encourage students to get involved. 

Some of these events are online and others are possible in small groups with social distancing. Keep in mind your provincial and university restrictions and guidelines to see what works best for your student group. 


Many student groups have already transitioned to a variety of online events. Even though it’s been a little challenging to get people to come out to these online events, those who do participate have a great time. 

One of the best ways to encourage students to participate is through a random draw for a prize, like a gift card, at the end of the event. This way there’s more incentive to join, because who doesn’t love a good prize?

There are many options for online events that many student groups have already tried out and some others that may be a good idea for the future. One of the most common events, so far, has been a virtual Meet and Greet with the new executive team, followed up by some online board games. Here are some games that are available for free and are possible with larger groups.

There is also the opportunity to do a variety of different workshops online, including Pysanky, Vinok (Flower crowns), Varenky, etc. Your student group can plan ahead and create small kits to send out to those participating, so they have their materials ready for the day of the workshop.

Other possible online events are movie nights, trivia nights and a Speaker series. Movie nights can be easily set up through the Netflix party extension, so multiple people can view the same movie at once. Trivia nights can be created on your own though Jeopardy or Kahoot. You can do Ukrainian trivia, various TV Show trivia (like Friends) or even just random facts.  Your USO can also organize a speaker series possible with different Professors or other individuals talking about Ukrainian culture, history, or anything else. 


There is also the possibility of doing small in-person events with social distancing. Setting up a registration list before the event is a great idea to ensure a small group. Although, be aware of provincial and university protocols, in order to keep everyone safe. 

Even though it is starting to get chilly outside, there are still plenty of outdoor activities to do. Hikes are a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, while still being able to social distance. Take a look at some trials near your city and see what suits your group best. 

Spooky season is here and one of my favourite activities is pumpkin carving. You can head to a park, social distance accordingly, and just carve some pumpkins together. You can also check out any corn mazes or haunted forests in your area.

There’s always plenty of activities and events to do, you just have to be a little creative sometimes. Also be sure to apply for the USO Project Grant if you need funding for any of your events. If you ever need some ideas or to chat about potential events, feel free to reach out to your Regional VP.