Pandemic life is weird, but humans are experts at making the most of their environment. There are opportunities to build community, even from the confinement of your home. (Plus, having something to do will make you feel like a good use of space, powerful, even.)
A colleague created a list of at-home service/mindfulness projects for our adult and youth service club members. I thought it was great, and asked to share some which may appeal to fraternity and/or sorority members.
“Before beginning a project, contact the organization or facility that will be the recipient of your service to confirm donation policy.“
1. Recycle Old Books
This post on “Recycle Nation” shares a number of ideas and resources to help you recycle old books. Alternatively, share pictures of the books you are trying to get rid of on social media. You may have friends who want to read something you’ve got. (I shipped out about 15 books before moving back to Indianapolis.)
2. Share Neighborly Love
The tips shared on my colleague’s list (linked above) all seem like fun ways to brighten the days of neighbors or those (few) passing by. Here are a few examples:
- Plant vegetables, herbs, or flowers near a sidewalk or where people walk. Include a sign inviting those passing by to “Pick what you need” (ideas on what to grow)
- “Download the NextDoor app and connect virtually with people in your neighborhood. Post about positive happenings in the neighborhood.”
- “Paint rocks with uplifting messages and place them close to the road where people walking by will see them.”
3. Thank Those Working During COVID-19
Color sidewalks or make signs welcoming or thanking those who deliver mail, food, or packages. If it is within your means, consider tipping your mail person, or offering a more generous tip to workers making house calls.
Compassion can feel cheesy, but don’t worry: no one is watching, you may help someone feel appreciated, and being appreciative is good for the soul.
4. No-Sew Chew Toys
Whether you make it to play with your own carnivorous canine or to share with a local shelter, these chew toys are easy to make, affordable, and fun! (if you don’t mind dog spit). There are many alternative chew toy designs. Search the web. Go wild.
5. Digital Book/Discussion Clubs
Fraternities began as literary societies, so pay some respect to your founders and read. Project Happiness offers book suggestions and sample questions to help lead book discussions. Organize a book club with chapter brothers or others you know. You will, at the very least, have a consistent meeting to help you keep track of time.
If reading isn’t your thing, then watch and discuss TED Talks videos with others. This is a great time to consider new ways of doing things when the in-person fraternity experience returns.
6. Plants. . . INSIDE!
Yeah, plant an herb garden. Never had herbs before? Consider this period of social distancing an ironic opportunity to expand your culinary horizons. No, but seriously, the health and taste benefits of herb gardens or small vegetable patches are immeasurable. (Tips to start an herb garden)
7. Learn New Things
If you need new recipes, want to pick up sewing, or have enough time to build a wooden desk, then check out Instructables. It’s just a website of things to learn. Come out of quarantining with a productive or relevant new skill … why not!? Instructables also offers challenges – like this one offering a prize to the most creative cardboard construction.
Are you still shooting yourself in the foot for forgetting what you learned in high school Spanish? Fun fact! It is easy to refresh those skills with a service like DuoLingo. Each lesson takes a few minutes, and there are some community features built into the app. You can even learn made up languages.
I’ll add more ideas to this list over time. Feel free to share ideas with me on Twitter.