As we move into Lockdown 2.0, the idea of having to run innovative and interesting online activities for your groups can be daunting. You've already had your fill of kahoot quizzes and the days of making banana bread and sourdough starter kits are long gone, so what else can we do?
This article from huffington post has loads of suggestions for amazing chefs you can cook along with for free. This is a great way to get people involved as it can be done individually or within household bubbles. Why not get your members to vote on different themed cuisine weeks?
You could even set up a weekly challenge, think Nailed It style epic fails or surprising wins. This option works for those who might not have the best internet connection as they can just send a picture and don't have to rely on video calls which can be one of the barriers in getting people to join online activities.
Some may struggle with eating alone during this time too - so even just hosting catch ups over dinner can be hugely beneficial for people's welfare. Endulge in your favourite meal, potentially an alcoholic beverage and light a few candles to really make it feel like a treat.
Again, these are so easy to hold and get everyone involved! You can either use Netflix Party or stream something on a discord server. Either way, it makes meeting new people effortless as there's already a topic of conversation.
There's thousands of games you can play online. Console games are an obvious choice but remember not everyone has access to these. If a few of your members do then that's awesome as there's countless games you can choose from! For less experienced gamers, choose games like Overcooked 2, Fortnite or Crash Team Racing. Mario Kart Tour is an absolute classic and only requires downloading an app on your phone! Other examples like this include HouseParty or Evil Apples.
Just about every traditional board game has moved online with the rest of the world. Play Uno, Monopoly, Chess, and Crazy Eights.
Other suggestions: Jackbox games, PSYCH!, Among Us, QuizUp
Want to learn more about what you're drinking? Join in with online classes for just about every type of alcohol. If beer is your drink, BeerBods are offering a four week trial for just £10. They hold live tastings every Thursday at 9pm. More interested in learning about your wine? Waitrose are holding this super fun wine tasting for again, only £10, as well as this Gin Classic Cocktails Workshop. Design My Night are also hosting GINspiration History and Cocktails evenings on various dates through November for £15. From the same provider you can find this Virtual Cocktail Class too. And if you're just missing your favourite pub, join Fuller's Virtual Pub from 8:30pm every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with different events each week.
Interested in running your own event? There's hundreds of tutorials on YouTube to get you started!
Even though we've all got to stay home, we can still visit new places. If you're looking for somewhere educational, try these tours: BBC Inside Museums, British Museum, International Space Station, Eye Revolution Air Craft tour. To cure (or prolong) your wanderlust, here's tours of Rome, Niagra Falls, and the Northern Lights. These Zoo live feeds are less of a group activity but just nice to share and relaxing to watch: Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, Paignton Zoo, Cotswold Wildlife Park, Endinburgh Zoo.
Then finally, there's plenty of art exhibits that have moved online, here's a few of our favourites: Google Arts and Culture, The Wallace Collection, National Gallery, Andy Warhol, Picasso and Paper
You can find showings of your favourite muscials, theatre productions and more at the following places: Bristol Old Vic, The Show Must Go On, The Royal Opera House, The Metropolitan Opera and Marie's Crisis Virtual Piano Bar - this is a notorious Piano Bar in New York that's still performing through lockdown. All you have to do is request to join the group and you can watch some of the cities most talented pianists. The National Theatre has also started a podcast where they hold interviews that are recorded live from National Theatre stages.
Weekly Catch Ups
Workshops with External Speakers (for these we require an Event Planner as speakers need to go through an approval process).
So now you've got plenty of ideas for online activities, it's time to advertise them! Use the SU's What's On page. If you need help adding your event to the page you can find a tutorial here or otherwise just contact us and we'll be happy to help. Your societies team is here to support you however we can and we'll be busy working behind the scenes so groups can get up and running when the time is allowed. Don't forget if you want to run something but need funding, we've got the Central Budget Fund you can apply to.
There's absolutely no pressure to do anything you wouldn't usually during this time. Do whatever makes you feel good and remember to check in on your friends. If you need further support, you can always talk to the SU Advice Team or the Universities Wellbeing Service.