COVID-19 has shaped our lives into purposely distancing ourselves from one another. And for some, if you’re disconnected the quiet can be disquieting and disorienting. Airy Tilghman, ’18, believes that this is one of the most traumatic times her generation has ever witnessed. So, she is using The Coppin Room (TCR), a trendy Instagram page, to keep Coppin’s students, alumni, faculty and staff connected. “Keeping them in the loop as we would during the regular school year is very important. If they ever needed information, the time is now,” she added.
The Coppin Room was created in fall 2016 because Airy and her contemporaries wanted to enhance the flow of communication on “what was happening on campus” particularly related to student life. The purpose, explained Airy, who lives in Washington, DC and volunteers her time as a collaborator on TRC, was to get Coppin on the map. “We are here to highlight all the great things Coppin has to offer. I believe we have successfully done that on multiple occasions. TCR posts have been picked up by some of the biggest social media platforms; The Shade Room, which has millions of followers, and Watch the Yard; a website dedicated to HBCU Greek organization. Both reposted the popular ‘Then and Now” picture first published by TCR.
TCR is becoming an ear and a voice for the student body as they are getting adjusted to online instruction. It appears social distancing may not be as temporary as we would like, so effective communication and digital engagement is critical. Airy and her associates are using polls and questionnaires via Instagram to stay connected. “We ask questions like, How are your online classes? and What are your plans after the pandemic is over?” “We have also posted the President’s virtual townhall meeting, Academic Advising messages, and a Campus Housing Q & A,” she continued. Airy’s desire is to convey the messages from the University’s administration in a way that all students can understand.
“There is a feature, on Instagram, where you can check and see how many students forwarded a post to others. That feature tells us that students are using and sharing the information we provide. They are using TCR as a primary source of digital information daily. I believe we have truly helped a lot of students via Instagram during this pandemic. It’s almost as if school is still running as normal.” Airy has found students are not shy about sharing their feelings. “Unfortunately, most students are not fans of online learning. They have told us they simply are not online learners, but they are making the best of this situation.”
Airy is confident she and her collaborators have impacted the campus’ connectivity exponentially during this pandemic. “I hope that all students continue to excel in their online classes and finish their year strong. I also hope that more students will engage with The Coppin Room. Incoming freshmen are highly encouraged to follow us.” Airy’s co-creators are alumni and previous SGA president Rigel Moore, Brandi Crumpton and current undergrad Olaoluwa Ojo.