By Velena Jones

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – College life as we know it has changed this year because of the coronavirus. From canceled events to virtual classes, it’s harder than ever for students to find their place and a community.

Freshmen like Kennedy Lindsey have been left feeling like they are missing out.

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“Definitely having the college experience is what I was looking for and it’s definitely different for sure,” she said. “It’s definitely hard on the mindset on the mental part of the college experience to not only have not anyone on the college campus but to not have anything going on, on campus either.”

With a mostly empty college campus, Sacramento State’s College of Education is looking to redefine the campus life experience by hosting online events that would normally happen in person.

“Zoom has challenged me to think about how…we build community and belong amidst so much isolation,” said faculty member Dr. Vajra Watson.

Using Zoom, Sac State created Chill Cloud. Instead of just logging online for class, students can participate in anything from comedy shows, yoga and meditation, to an open-mic night like the one put on by Watson.

“We are battling levels of social isolation and even just the strain of everyone feeling distant from loved ones and friends, we have to become even more creative in the ways that we tie ourselves together,” she said.

It’s a small step towards normalcy students said they have been craving.

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“We went to a yoga class and a couple concerts and it is definitely better than nothing for sure,” said freshman Jessica Rios.

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Lorraine Bacon, a senior, said the free events are helping ease the burden of finishing her final year without stepping on campus

“It gives you something else to focus on that is not necessarily stressful, it takes you out of all the craziness of what’s going on right now. I think it’s important, it allows you to take a breather,” she said.

It’s a sense of community the university hopes will foster friendships offline.

“Take small acts of belonging, of togetherness, and nurture that. Nurture a new way of getting along with each other,” Watson said.

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Students at Sac State have also created a similar community through the student-run group, Unique, where they also hold virtual events.

Velena Jones