Community Nights Move Online in Hybrid Fall

CDSP students, faculty, and staff gather for Community Night
Students, faculty, and staff gather for Community Night in the days before Covid-19.

By Paul Impey ’23

Last Thursday, CDSP students hosted the second online Community Night of the fall semester. Students, staff, and faculty joined together over Zoom from across the country for games, prizes, and fellowship with one another. The evening included bingo, $250 in prizes, and plenty of light-hearted shenanigans by the Rev.  Andrew Hybl ‘12, dean of students, and the Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, president and dean.

Although members of the community acknowledge that building relationships can be an even bigger challenge than usual under social distancing, that only underscores its importance. Many students, particularly incoming residential students, have struggled with feelings of isolation since arriving in Berkeley.

Community Night came as a welcome reprieve. One student noted how much bingo reminded them of home, while another beamed after taking home the grand prize.

“I can officially add bingo to my list of pandemic pastimes,” said Richardson. “And a small victory to boot!”

At a socially distanced gathering of first-year residential students immediately after Community Night, the general consensus was that although they would prefer to gather with the rest of the community in person, it was nice to at least gather so many in spirit.

At the kick-off event two weeks before, participants split into teams for a trivia competition. Topics ranged from geography to pop culture, and even how many palm trees there are around campus. (Nobody got this question quite right.) The close game hinged on a bonus round to decide the winners. It was a fun, sometimes thought-provoking start to the semester.

Community Nights will continue to be held every other week on Thursdays at 5:30 pm  over Zoom. Future events will certainly include more fun and games but also discussions of serious matters as well. The evening of October 22, for example, will be dedicated to addressing the mental health concerns facing the community amid the stresses of the pandemic. 

In the days when we cannot gather together in person, Community Nights are proving as important as ever.