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How have you stayed connected during the COVID-19 pandemic?

International Programs in Agriculture at Purdue, like departments and units throughout the university, has paused normal activities such as travel and in-person meetings. In March 2020, the IPIA team migrated to virtual meetings utilizing the Zoom platform to continue to stay connected. IPIA staff have been meeting weekly since mid-March. The virtual meetings are not what you might imagine an all staff meeting would normally look like. Lead Administrative Assistant, Lynn Cornell, has worked to make each weekly meeting light-hearted and fun. Meetings begin with an overall update from Associate Dean and Director of IPIA Jerry Shively, a quick go-around for staff reporting on work activities, and an open discussion about issues, challenges, and solution strategies. After these updates, IPIA staff members partake in a new game every week. Cornell has been the main planner and implementer for games at each weekly meeting. The group utilizes the breakout room feature in Zoom to work together as pre-determined teams. Each week, IPIA team members engage in friendly competition with each other in games such as Scattergories, Pictionary, Head Drawing, Trivia, Name that Tune, and Family Feud.

“Playing these games virtually has helped us to maintain connections with each other as well as relieve some of the stress associated with working remotely. In fact, I think these weekly gatherings that combine serious work and some lighthearted fun have actually brought us closer together as a team, which is perhaps a silver lining to the pandemic cloud that hangs over everything.” – Jerry Shively, Associate Dean and Director of IPIA

IPIA Zoom call
IPIA team happy hour after playing a weekly game. From left to right: Ruth Ann Bowles, Nyssa Lilovich, Lonni Kucik, Lynn Cornell, Trish Sipes, Julie Hancock, Kara Hartman, Peter Hirst, Kashchandra Raghothama, Amanda Dickson, Carole Braund, and Jerry Shively.


The Purdue IPIA team playing the ‘head drawing’ game in which everyone tries to draw the same picture—on a paper plate placed top of their head!


The IPIA team showing off their masks. Left to right: Kara Hartman, Julie Hancock, Trish Sipes, Nyssa Lilovich, Lynn Cornell, Jerry Shively, Amanda Dickson, Carole Braund, Kashchandra Raghothama, and Ruth Ann Bowles.
The IPIA team showing off their masks. Left to right: Kara Hartman, Julie Hancock, Trish Sipes, Nyssa Lilovich, Lynn Cornell, Jerry Shively, Amanda Dickson, Carole Braund, Kashchandra Raghothama, and Ruth Ann Bowles.


Team playing Pictionary
IPIA team playing Pictionary. Team members are privately messaged something to draw. Each team member then utilizes the white board function to draw while the group tries to guess what they are drawing.

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