By Michaela Guo
Frosh Council held a “Cardinal Carnival” weekend social on the student-created platform Club Cardinal as a finale to its weekly series of “Frosh Friday” social events, which are meant to encourage frosh to bond and make friends.
Movie watching, game rooms and speed friending, among other activities, drew an average of around 70 participants, according to attendees. According to Frosh Council member Bikal Sharma ’24, the 20-member council prioritized community-building for the first quarter of college amid a pandemic.
The team planned a large quarterly event dubbed Cardinal Carnival, as well as a “meet your reps” event, according to Sharma.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about going forward, what role we can play more actively when it comes to administration … and advocating for our concerns,” Sharma said.
Some frosh said that they have found the Frosh Fridays to be more effective compared to other bonding events because of the variety of activities and consistent turnout.
“The people that I meet there are the ones that make it engaging,” Megan Lee ’24 said. “The last time I played with a group and we moved out into a different [Zoom call] afterward. I thought that was meaningful, because we actually talked a little bit … It’s nice that [we’re] beginning friendships.”
“I’m just hoping that we’ll be able to expand on that when we do get on campus,” she added.
Council members said they have adapted the way Frosh Friday events are run based on student feedback by including more activity options and providing a second event time option for international students. Requests for more of the video game Among Us are frequent, according to Council members, with some frosh crediting the game’s easy access and shallow learning curve for its popularity.
“We want to do different events besides Among Us, but we always make sure to include them … because you know that’s just what everybody wants to play,” Council member Amira Dehmani ’24 said. “A lot of people really enjoyed it because they were in an intimate space with people and they’re lacking that with big lecture-type Zooms.”
Despite the overall positive experience frosh are having at Frosh Fridays, some students said that the limits of online interaction prevent them from feeling like a part of the University.
“I’m hoping more that when we do finally get on campus, they’ll almost overly compensate for everything that we missed,” Lee said.
Other frosh expressed their “fear of missing out,” particularly after hearing stories from upperclassmen about their first-year social experiences and trips.
“I know that there are many other things that Stanford has to spend on now with extra COVID regulations and they’re losing revenue,” Amaro said. “It’s hard to say that we are entitled to [those trips] in any sense with everything that’s going on, but it definitely feels like we’re losing on that and the resources they would have spent there.”
Stanford plans to bring frosh, sophomores and new transfer students back to campus for the winter quarter, which begins on Jan. 11. On Nov. 9, Provost Persis Drell reaffirmed those plans, citing low rates of COVID-19 on campus.
“I think that there would be significant benefit to being on campus and building community there,” Sharma said.
“Going forward I think we’re going to stick to this sort of plan where our main focus is definitely going to be community building,” he added. “But I think that if we were to get on campus, we also have to take on that initial responsibility of advocating for making sure everything is safe and accessible.”