Chi Alpha's online innovation helps them stay connected

Category:  News
Monday, September 21st, 2020 at 8:45 PM
Chi Alpha's online innovation helps them stay connected by Julia Carden
TJ Schaefer speaks during Chi Alpha's "What's Your Story" series.

“A lot has changed in the last few months, but we sure haven’t,” announced Edinboro Chi Alpha members on their Facebook page early this semester. Since the university halted in-person club and organization events last spring due to COVID-19, all campus groups were left to move their activities online. With frequently updated social media accounts and some online innovation, Chi Alpha is one organization that’s excelled within the transition. 

Chi Alpha is a campus ministry group composed of “college students on a mission to know Jesus and his calling on our lives,” states their Facebook page. The religious organization is open to students of all backgrounds. 

 Staff member Kayla Tobergte says the group wants to reach out to “all who desire to grow in their faith and desire community.” Tobergte has been involved with Chi Alpha for four years and on the staff for two. That staff — which provides mentorship and helps organize events — consist of eight local graduates, including some Edinboro alumni. 

Last semester, in response to coronavirus, they started up “Thursday Night Live,” an online sermon series hosted by staff. It’s continued this semester, beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursdays. The current series, “What’s Your Story,” walks members through the story of humanity and creation. The group posts these sermons to YouTube after the live broadcast, along with going on podcast platforms like Spotify.  

According to Tobergte, these live sermons draw in returning students as well as new students who are interested in the group. “The lives are going great. We’ve had students getting involved each week,” she said. 

 

In addition, their Instagram this semester has been used for “Daily Encouragement,” which has staff members taking 1-3 minutes out of their day to address members.  

The club even utilizes a Discord server for communication between members. Assistant Director TJ Schaefer explained that the vision behind the server was to “use the platform to create a robust online community where students could have access to everything we have to offer, and keep conversation going." According to Scheafer, there are multiple text channels available for members who want to host conversations, post prayer requests, organize online game groups, and share music.

There are also weekly virtual Bible studies held by the 14 student leaders at Edinboro. These Bible studies “create safe atmospheres to explore faith, ask difficult questions, and build meaningful friendships,” says the "Who We Are" page of their website. Hannah Blackburn, a sophomore early education student, describes her time with the group as a “moving experience.”  

 Edinboro Chi Alpa has taken advantage of all the ways technology allows for connection. According to Tobergte, the group is excited to gain new students and continue with current members. Although the group is eager to get back to normal operation, they have successfully transferred their program online for the time being.

 Julia Carden is a staff writer for The Spectator. She can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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