UCI News

School of Social Sciences finds way to stay social

Amid pandemic, weekly student hangout transitions to Zoom, keeping Anteaters connected

by Christine Catlett, UCI | June 8, 2020
School of Social Sciences finds way to stay social
“SSARC is at the forefront of building a virtual community where undergraduates feel supported, engaged and connected,” says Karissa Sorensen, director of the Social Sciences Academic Resource Center, which hosts Bagel Fridays. Karina Velazquez / UCI

The Social Sciences Academic Resource Center’s traditional “Bagel Friday” get-together is sporting a new look. The weekly on-campus hangout for students moved online to Zoom this spring to keep Anteaters connected during the pandemic.

“As the School of Social Sciences transitioned to remote learning, Dean Bill Maurer was very much invested in brainstorming fun, engaging and educational activities digitally, virtually and remotely for our students,” says Karissa Sorensen, SSARC director. “We didn’t want to lose our beloved Bagel Fridays, where students can meet, mingle and enjoy bagels. It’s an informal environment in which they learn more about the center’s available resources through weekly themes that address internships, research and other topics of academic interest.”

Themes during the quarter have included Bring Your Pet, Musical Jam Session, Travel Stories, Learning TikTok Dances, Cooking Quarantine Recipes and Jackbox. Hangouts are hosted by the SSARC team, which includes Sorensen, coordinator Patrick Del Rosario and peer consultant interns. They’re held Fridays from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., and surprise faculty guests often drop by. Students are welcome to stay for a few minutes or the entire hour.

“We’ve had to move our extracurricular activities from the physical to the online world, and Bagel Friday has adapted to the remote format with fun themes and bring-your-own bagels,” Sorensen says. “SSARC is at the forefront of building a virtual community where undergraduates feel supported, engaged and connected.”

Word about the hangout has spread beyond the social sciences, and Bagel Fridays are now popular with students across all disciplines. Sorensen says the get-togethers will happen once a month during the summer and resume a weekly schedule in the fall quarter. All students are welcome, regardless of major, and can RSVP at https://bit.ly/ssarcbagels.