A New England College Keeps Hybrid Student Life Active with Kumospace
Mount Wachusett Community College’s student government has an open virtual office to engage and inform their peers.
In her role as the Director of Student Life at Mount Wachusett Community College, Kathy Matson has been at work adapting campus involvement to a hybrid model in 2020 and 2021. She quickly grew tired of Zoom, and was looking for alternatives when a colleague introduced her to Kumospace, an immersive virtual event platform.
“I researched it and I went, ‘Oh my’,” Kathy says. She particularly liked that the platform felt intuitive. She points out that she prefers it over Zoom because students are able to break into private conversations before and after meetings, using Kumospace’s proximity chat, or spatial audio. With spatial audio the closer you are to others in Kumospace the louder you can hear them, just like in real-life.
Kathy has since used Kumospace for several campus events including an interactive game of virtual bingo and an online club expo. The college uses it most regularly for a virtual student government office.
“They have committees that meet periodically, so they use Kumospace as the office for their committee meetings as opposed to having a regular Zoom meeting,” says Kathy.
She set up Kumospace using the Office template, which is outfitted with a personalized greeting sign, plush seating, and vibrant succulents along with an interactive whiteboard for brainstorming notes and a tablet with the capability to link to other websites.“One thing I really like is that the student government members can just go in, and use it anytime they want,” says Kathy. She points out that when she was using Zoom she would have to set up the meetings herself and that got especially cumbersome.
The virtual Student Government Association office mirrors the students’ real-life setup. According to Kathy, on the college campus they have a mobile student government booth that they wheel around to different areas of campus to make accessible to students. The student government representatives will sit in the booth so fellow students can chat with them about happenings on campus or any other questions. They now have the same situation set up in Kumospace, which is open to the entire student body.
“The students really enjoy it because it’s less formal,” Kathy says. “And I like its versatility.”