The 2020 Snowball retreat is canceled due to COVID-19. The program is set to commence as a club, and directors plan to schedule meetings over Zoom every two weeks. There will be no application process, and all students are welcome to join by enrolling in Google Classroom. The code can be found on morning announcement slideshows.
Snowball director William Edison said in a video conference that the decision to offer Snowball as a club along with the retreat was made last year, before the pandemic, to continue engaging with topics discussed at the retreat throughout the year.
“We found that once the retreat was over, some of the energy and … focus for the people involved in Snowball fades.
“We wanted to give everybody a way to … keep that momentum [and] energy going,” Edison said.
Snowball is dedicated to promoting healthy decision-making, leadership and community building among students and staff, running as a three-day retreat held at a camp in Wisconsin.
The Snowball organization team, composed of both students and staff, is currently working on ways to carry out the program’s purpose through a virtual club format.
Snowball student director Maddy Shalin said in a video conference that recruiting participants for the club and figuring out ways to conduct the program in the new format was difficult for the directors.
Keeping participants engaged may present a challenge since they may not feel as comfortable opening up over a video conference, Shalin said.
Snowball student leader Lily Cohen said in a video conference that she decided to be a student leader to help participants have a memorable experience, regardless of the cancellation of the retreat.
“By the end of [the retreat], you develop relationships with [your peers] that you never thought were possible,” Cohen said.
After hearing about the Snowball experience from her sisters, freshman Jessica Zelen decided to join the club to connect with others.
Having the opportunity to hear peers’ experiences with the pandemic may help build a sense of community, even if the setting will be different, Zelen said in a video conference.
According to Cohen, the club will provide new opportunities which could not be fulfilled through the retreat alone.
“Usually at the retreat you’re in this mindset for that weekend, and then it goes away the next month or two,” said Cohen. “[Through the club], we could try to provoke positivity and self-love throughout the whole year rather than just a couple of days.”