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Blog – CamAWISE’s September social goes online: This is how it went!

By Iratxe Puebla

It is a tradition for CamAWISE to host a September social as an opportunity to get together and network after the summer break. Given the current COVID-19 circumstances, we could not meet at a pub this year but we did not want to miss an opportunity to catch up with many of you and so we hosted our September social over Zoom on September 17th.

We kicked off the session with a ‘Finding commonalities’ activity. In smaller groups of three or four and introduced ourselves with just our name and job, the goal was to find as many things in common to everyone in the group as possible, the group with more things discovered would be the winner. We had lively conversations in the groups where we found more about each other, in many different areas, our work, where we are from and where we live or our hobbies. Some themes that many mentioned as commonalities related to an interest in walking outside, plants, and an interest in baking! As you can expect, lockdown and social distancing has meant that many of us have been doing more cooking and baking than we used to.

After this group activity, we moved to a Scavenger hunt. We had a list of 20 items to find around the house, ranging from a coin or a candle to more intriguing items like ‘An item that’s older than you are’. We put the timer on for five minutes and we all went searching around the house before gathering back to show our treasures over zoom. The winner managed to find 19 out of the 20 items! ‘A ticket from a concert or show you went to’ proved a tricky one but most of us proudly showed a musical instrument and ‘Something rainbow coloured’.  We spent some time discussing the history of some of the objects, a portrait, a mug with souvenirs of past trips around the UK, and with one anecdote on getting stuck in a large bin for several hours (!).

Next up was another group activity ‘Fact or Fiction’. We reconvened in smaller groups and each of us prepared three highlights from our professional career or education, two true and one false. We then went in turns sharing the statements with the others in the group, who would try, by asking questions, to identify which the false statement was. There were many interesting anecdotes shared, from trips to Australia, to accidentally smuggling Chinese cookies and some extreme sport activities. It was a challenging exercise to find the right questions to ask to try and parse fact from fiction, but it was a fun way of learning interesting facts about others in the group.

To wrap up, we did a brief Zoom version of a music quiz. We played the first 30 seconds for eight songs and then run a quiz using the Zoom poll options to see if we could guess which signs the fragments were for. Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker face’ and Edith Piaf’s ‘La vie en rose’ proved popular with a majority of attendees correctly guessing the songs.

We obviously miss the closeness and serendipity that in-person social events provide and we hope that we will be able to resume in-person gatherings in the near future. As an alternative, our Zoom social provided a fun alternative to connect with others in Cambridge and keep in touch.

We’ll look to organise an additional online social event on the ramp up to Christmas and look forward to seeing many of you there. If you have ideas or suggestions for themes or activities you’d like to see included, do let us know!

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