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Students attending class remotely

Virtual Spirit Week: Bringing Fun to Hybrid Learning

During the week of November 16, SOM’s Student Government hosted its first-ever Virtual Spirit Week! (If we’re going to be frank, we hope it’s the last one as well.) Spirit Week was the student life chairs and cohort representatives’ answer to this question: how can we plan something fun that gets students excited while we are doing hybrid classes? 

This was a classic Spirit Week, with a theme for each day where students could either dress up or use a fun virtual background and with each cohort competing for prizes (we love a chance to win some swag here at SOM!). Some of our core professors even got in on the fun, and let us know who impressed them the most (or least!). To encourage cross-cohort bonding, we created a personality quiz designed to mix up the student body across cohorts and years. The culmination was the Diwali Closing Bell put on by the South Asian Club and a dance-in-your-living-room-style Informal Fall Formal.

How did each cohort approach spirit week? Here are the runner-up and winning cohort reps to tell you about it:

Grania VanHerwarde, Green: Green 2022 was coming off of a victory in the Cohort Cup a few weeks prior to Spirit Week, and rumors were flying that we had somehow “rigged” the competition. We came into Spirit Week with the energy to show that we are genuinely the most spirited, and we ended up placing second. My favorite day was Cohort Color Day because it showed how much cohort spirit we have! For the cohort day, everyone put up these super fun Green backgrounds on Zoom and wore Green to class. I had a ton of fun at Spirit Week and it has been one of my favorite weeks so far at SOM.

A screenshot of a Zoom class and students dressed in green in a classroom

Sarah Gannon, Silver: Silver 2022 didn’t have the best track record in terms of schoolwide events coming into Spirit Week (think last place in the orientation week scavenger hunt and recent Cohort Cup), so we know we had something to prove. While we may not have soccer skills, we definitely have spirit! One of my favorite days was the “spirit animal” theme—I truly feel like I learned a lot about my classmates by what animal they picked, and it made class participation a lot more entertaining. Another fun day was our “prom”-themed cross-cohort day, where Silver 2022 and Silver 2021 posted throwback prom photos in our joint Slack to give everyone a laugh. Finally, Diwali Closing Bell and Informal Fall Formal were a great way to finish the week by hanging with my favorite quarantine pod! I am so proud to say that Silver 2022 WON Spirit Week, and now we all get to rock our Yale beanies around campus, making everyone else jealous.

Students in a Zoom meeting

The virtual edition of Spirit Week clearly wasn’t what we all envisioned when signing up to come to SOM, but it was a success. The fact that we pulled it off speaks miles to the people we have in our community. Our student life chairs and cohort reps put a lot of time into designing this week, planning events, rallying their cohorts, and organizing prizes. The student body also showed off its resilience and spirit through this week, by making the most of what’s available to us right now. We hope next year to be able to have this week in person, dressing up in costumes with all our friends and closing the week off with a real Fall Formal, but we were so happy with all the effort that went into this week and the amount of entertainment that came out of it. Thanks to the whole SOM community for being a part of this week!