CU Boulder provides all students, faculty, and staff free access to a variety of video conferencing platforms through your Identikey. To help manage your student organization virtual meetings and events, consider using the account associated with your CU student organization's email address (IdentiKey@colorado.edu) and IdentiKey Password.

Need to reset your student organization's email password? Contact studentorganizations@colorado.edu.

Virtual platforms

  • Google Hangouts is a web-based conferencing platform that is accessible on MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android  mobile devices.  CU Boulder students, faculty, and staff can create virtual meetings that can be joined by anyone in the world with a simple link. Up to 250 people can participate in a Google Hangout Meet.
  • There is a screen-sharing feature that would allow a PowerPoint or documents to be displayed and discussed as well as a recording option if content would like to be recorded in advance and distributed to organization members. Recordings get saved directly into your Google Drive.
  • For more information on how your student organization can use G Suite, visit the Office of Information and Technology's website.

    While your student organization has access to all of the above platforms, it can be challenging to know which one to use.

    First, consider the needs of your meeting or event. Do you have time to learn about features for each platform? Which platform is most user friendly? Are there features that are absolutely pertenent to the success of your meeting or event? (Screen sharing, chat feature, annotation capabilities)

    Platform Features

     

    Zoom

     

    Google Hangouts

    *Not all Google applications are enabled for CU Boulder page

     

    Microsoft Teams

     

    Hosting a meeting

    You can either start as needed, or set up a scheduled time. Either way provides a shareable link to send to the person.

    Tips for running virtual meetings  

    • Test out your technology before the start of the meeting. 
    • Work with a friend to test out your meeting platform to make sure everything works.  
    • Opt for video calling. While not everyone loves the idea of video calls, they increase connection and community. When possible, choose video calling for a more personal approach to staying connected. Note that in cases where reception is bad, you may have to switch off video calling. 
    • Start each meeting with an icebreaker where everyone gets to share. If there are a lot of participants, consider using the chat features for people to respond and share. 
    • Stick to set times. Set standard weekly times meetings should take place for consistency. We recommend, keeping with the regular times you had prior to going remote. 
    • Set clear agendas, outcomes, and action items. We recommend using Google Docs as a way of creating living agendas where people can see updates in real time and items as the meeting goes along. 
    • At the end of every meeting, be sure to articulate clear action items and next steps.  
    • Create new roles and rotate responsibilities. 
    • Think about daily and weekly tasks such as taking meeting minutes and rotate these amongst members to stay engaged. Additionally, consider forming new and creative subcommittees that can work on projects in more intimate chat groups. 
    • Get buy-in. Make sure to create space for allowing others to provide thoughts and input. It’s important to ask things like “what do people think of this?” or “does anyone have anything to add?” Be ok with some silence on the other end as some people may need additional time to think.  
    • Meet one-on-one. If you are in a leadership role within your organization, consider scheduling one on one check-ins with other executive board leaders and members. This is a great way to maintain connection and be able to accommodate the different needs of your group. 
    • Centralize organization documents. Consider Google Docs, BuffConnect, Slack, or another project management for being able to share information with your organization in a timely, adjustable fashion. 

    Tips for organizing

    • Centralize organization documents. 
    • Consider Google docs, BuffConnect, Slack, or another project management for being able to share information with your organization in a timely, adjustable fashion. 
    • Consider a communication channel and set expectations. 
    • Consider using Google Chat, What’s App, or even Facebook messenger as a centralized channel for the organization to communicate. This can help keep everyone up-to-date and help avoid the confusing text message chain. 

    Tips for engaging members

    While ensuring you continue to meet the mission and purpose of your organization is important, it’s also important to recognize that much of what your organization does is social, connecting students to one another. Even in a virtual environment, there are lots of ways to help people connect informally and socially.

    • Create a “virtual watercooler” 
    • Provide social connections outside of typical meetings and events. This could take place via text messaging platform like Slack or GroupMe.
    • Leverage your student organization's social media accounts to connect with members.
    • Host a virtual game night for members.

    Here are some ideas: 

    • Host a daily check-in or kick-off for members.
    • Pose a daily "this or that" question or gif challenge via your student organization's text message platform.
    • This may be focused on organization-related items, or an opportunity to just wish everyone a great day! 
    • Host virtual office hours outside of meetings for more personal connections and conversations. 
    • Create a regular newsletter. 
    • There are a number of great resources such as Constant Contact and MailChimp that allow you to create free electronic newsletters. 
    • This can be a great way to keep members up-to-date with the activities of the organization.
    • Consider adding trivia questions or fun challenges to make the newsletter more interactive.  

    Hosting Virtual Events

    Virtual events are great for a multitude of reasons! They are flexible, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly. Almost any in-person event can be made into a virtual experience.

    When planning your virtual event, it's important to consider what you hope to gain from the event and how those goals can be reached virtually.

    • What kind of experience do you hope to deliver?
    • What platform will be used to deliver the experience?
    • Where do I want the content to be seen?
    • When is the best time for the event?
    • Will you require event registration?
    • Will people still have access to the event once it’s over? 

    Keeping participants engaged in a virtual setting is challenging, consider incorporating elements to encourage Participation.

    • Interactive features are common in virtual platforms and can range from Q&A sessions, polls, and chats.
    • Virtual events provide a great opportunity to apply gamification techniques like polls, trivia, quizzes, and puzzles. 

    As student leaders, you uphold the responsibility to create a welcoming and inclusive environment. Similar to in-person events, virtual events should be as inclusive and accessible as possible. When planning the event, consider the following:

    • Check language. Make sure clear language, language fonts, and high colour contrast is used at all touch points — including presentations.
    • Provide captions and visuals where possible for audio.
    • Showcase a diverse range of voices. 

    Events can often be the foundation of community within an organization. This community can still be fostered and developed virtually. For virtual event ideas, consider what makes your organization special or unique and play into interests of your membership! Here are some examples to help you get started:

    Preventing Unwanted Meeting Guests

    Make sure your virtual meetings and events are as secure as possible by reviewing the resources the Office of Information Technology has on their website.

    Additional resources