ADEI sees boost in online engagement


Zulfiqar Ahmed | Northern Star

ADEI 2020 impact report.

By Jack Strunk, News Reporter

DeKALBMany of NIU’s webpages’ annual reports showed a decrease in engagement during the pandemic, while ADEI’s virtual engagement doubled. ADEI had an engagement of 1,890 in Fall 2020 leading up to the pandemic and a total virtual engagement of 4,006 for the 2019-2020 academic year.

J Pappas, assistant director of student justice education, said that global social justice movements that occurred in 2020, such as the murder of George Floyd, contributed to the ADEI increase in engagement.

Pappas said that engagement was affected by the “larger national conversation around race and racism after the murder of Floyd.” 

Pappas said that hosting online programs for ADEI helped to create online engagement and be accessible to students through the pandemic.

“We really tried to boost our online programming during the pandemic,” Pappas said. “Before the pandemic hit we often put on a lot of code workshops for the community as well as other programs that were a little bit more attractive for in-person, and we wanted to continue to provide services for folks through the pandemic.”

Pappas also said that ADEI has plans to determine the best combination of online and in-person to grow student engagement during the 2021-2022 academic year.

“Our goal is really to figure out what works for (students),” Pappas said. “We’re all kind of coming back to some degree, but I know many folks are still not fully comfortable with engaging in person, where they require virtual accommodation—so we’re really trying to find a good balance.”

ADEI events and code workshops are currently being held both online and in-person to make their events as accessible to students as possible.

“We’re trying to keep all of the positive good things about being online,” Pappas said. “We also want to make sure that we’re meeting the needs of the folks who are on campus.” 

Students can continue to interact with ADEI through their in-person and online events, which are listed in their calendar which can be found through the Social Justice Education page. Students can also engage with the ADEI’s goals through their podcast “Huskie Conversation Cafe,” which discusses social justice for students, as well as the Common Reading Experience books and how they relate to student and campus life.