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Bowdoin Animation Society takes advantage of online platforms to stay connected

November 20, 2020

The Bowdoin Animation Society (BAS) continues to virtually watch and critique animation through online platforms in an effort to maintain their tight-knit community during the mostly remote fall semester.

The members of BAS hope to simulate the social experience of gathering together and discussing animation by using a variety of messengers and servers.

“To message each other in real time, we use this platform called Discord,” Alexia Brown ’21, one of the leaders of BAS, said in a Zoom interview with the Orient. “Basically everyone creates their own profile on it—you can put whatever funny characters you want and name yourself whatever funny name you want.”

“The goal … is both to just have it be a hub for everyone meeting up and for club meetings, and also potentially as a nice little online social thing,” Liam Juskevice ’21, one of the leaders of BAS, said in a Zoom interview with the Orient. “It’s basically just used as a good place to gather up on our usual meeting times, which is 8 p.m. on Fridays, just like it always was.”

While BAS members are attempting to recreate the experience of in-person meetings, they understand that they cannot fully replicate it.

“We don’t get the same atmosphere as we used to pre-COVID[-19],” Brown said. “Sometimes it can feel a bit disconnected online, but we generally try to keep [the same] format.”

Conducting online meetings has also proved a challenge for returning members looking to forge connections with first years interested in joining the club..

“There are a decent number of … first years that I haven’t actually met in person before, which makes it hard,” Juskevice said. “With some of our most reliable people not being students anymore, it is harder to really grab ahold of waves of [first years] with this kind of awkward setup.”

BAS members have also dealt with the technical difficulties that accompany virtual meetings.

“We’re still working out the technical aspects,” Juskevice said. “There was the awkwardness as well as things not going as smoothly as it would in past meetings.”

Despite the challenges of operating online, Juskevice still enjoys the time he spends in BAS and finds the format to be a comfortable and familiar arena.

“I’m able to manage fine under these settings because I’m a pretty heavy internet user in general,” Juskevice said. “I’m comfortable in this medium in ways that I imagine a lot of people aren’t.”

While members are uncertain about their plans for the spring semester, they are confident that they will find a way to involve and excite the Bowdoin community, despite compromised conditions.

“I’m not sure how things will be looking this spring, as there’s a lot of things we need to work out that haven’t been worked out yet,” Juskevice said. “But there are many options on the table.”

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