Cherishing Moments Made at a Distance

EvCC reflects on gathering virtually and making memories despite COVID-19.

As this new normalcy of staying in and working from home continues, meaningful moments are happening. For some students and staff, dialing into video calls outside the classroom is giving life to virtual gatherings and bringing people closer together.

Losing the option of in-person gatherings when health risks run so pronounced is difficult for anyone to come to terms with, especially for those who have experienced loss during this period. Families hoping to grieve in traditional ways are having to pay respects to their loved ones in a new approach.

Current EvCC student Tori Rooney’s family gathered over Zoom to honor her grandmother who passed away from a heart attack. Rooney’s family was against putting anyone else at risk, but adjusted to find and provide comfort among loved ones.

Current EvCC student Tori Rooney. (Courtesy photo from Tori Rooney.)

“The Zoom call service brought everyone together, in a way. So, even though we couldn’t physically see each other, Zoom made it possible to greatly lower the chance of risk,” Rooney says. “Zoom really did bring people together to celebrate her life.”

It is often hard to tell the sense of community growing; When our physical presence is lost in these times, the means of connection is not. EvCC Diversity and Equity Center communications consultant Kira Violette experiences the LGBTQIA+ students bonding first-hand.

Violette attends every Triangle Alliance meeting via video call and is grateful for the accessible opportunity to learn more about the community.

Triangle Alliance is EvCC’s on-campus club providing social support, awareness and information concerning gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues. Open to students, staff and faculty identifying within the LGBTQIA+ communities, the club meets weekly via Zoom. For more info, contact [email protected]

“This is special to me because before, I hadn’t been able to spend as much time walking around campus and getting to know everyone, but now I’m able to attend each meeting and learn about the students who I want to help succeed,” Violette says.

The “silly cake” Kathryn Johnson made her husband for his birthday. (Birthday is in April, right around Easter) (Courtesy photo from Kathryn Johnson.)

Bringing family and friends together as a virtual host is tough. Beginning Zoom user Kathryn Johnson, EvCC Senior Associate Faculty, says the magic of video calls comes from the unexpected connections. Johnson hosted a birthday party for her husband, inviting as many of his friends and relatives as she had email addresses for.

“I wasn’t sure if the link would work or if anyone would come, but I decided it was worth a try,” Johnson says. She was overjoyed by the response as forty people across the country spent time together. “I got to show off the special cake I’d made and have Wes blow out the candles while the group sang to him.”

“Being told we shouldn’t gather with loved ones has brought us a greater awareness of how important these relationships are when we might otherwise take them for granted.”
In a world with physical embrace an arm’s length away, video calls bring the feeling of connection closer, and a reminder there is still so much to be thankful for.

Kathryn Johnson and husband Wes Johnson. (Courtesy photo from Kathryn Johnson.)