To say this semester is different than the previous ones is an understatement since so much has changed since we moved completely online. The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) has been an integral part of my college experience, and even that has been affected by the virtual environment. I used to look forward to our weekly study sessions on Tuesdays, where I had the opportunity to ask upperclassmen for help or simply have an excuse to hang out with my closest friends while “working” on homework assignments. My favorite event has always been SHPE Goes to KBBQ, where we rent out the Bud Namu KBBQ restaurant second floor for a night per semester and interact with each other.
I am currently the Vice President of Membership for the organization, and social events fall directly under my committee. Not being able to organize the social events we are known for had an impact on the number of people that joined at the beginning of the semester, but I have been working to combat the issue.
We recently created a new event series titled “Chisme Hour,” and for those of you that do not know what Chisme means, it is the Spanish word for Gossip! The premise of the virtual event is to have a space where the members can come together and interact with each other and share whatever is going on in their lives at the moment. I have scheduled the Chisme Hour to happen biweekly and it has been great for SHPE. Zoom has created a big problem where it has become hard for people to simply reach out to each other. At school, I could see someone walking to the dining hall and start walking alongside them. It was very organic and simple but that is not the case anymore. Chisme Hour has provided a great excuse to keep fostering that sense of Familia SHPE-USC is so known for and I am happy we have been able to adapt and make the most out of this situation.