The Schultz Fellowship is a bi-partisan, political discussion group on campus. Every Thursday night, the club meets to discuss the topic appointed by the presidents Maral Asik ’20 and Aidan Gillies ’21. This spring term they have relocated their meetings from the Norton Center to a Zoom meeting room.
From the beginning of the spring term, the Schultz Fellows continued with their normally scheduled meetings. The activities and discussions of the club were mostly unchanged in the move to virtual meetings.
“The Schultz Fellowship is an organization that really lends itself to meeting online or really in any format because we are just a discussion group. Unlike a lot of other clubs, we don’t have the roadblocks that come with having to host larger events. All we do is talk and that is something that can easily be done online,” Aidan said.
Log News Editor Ryan Fortani ’22, one of the club’s new members, seemed equally unsurprised by the transition to virtual meetings.
“Knowing that every single person who goes to these meetings cares about the topics and the people there, I had a feeling that we would continue. I wasn’t surprised, but I was definitely impressed by Shultz’s leadership,” Ryan said.
“A lot of our members, only get to be a part of the club for one year or sometimes two, because we do only select upperclassmen in most cases. We do recognize that there would be a lot of valuable time lost for a lot of our upperclassmen members, because of that we thought it was imperative to continue if we could,” Aidan added
At first, discussions over the Zoom platform were more awkward than the traditional in-person meetings. During a normal on-campus Shultz Fellowship meeting, no one is allowed to use technology, so there was a transitional period in that sense.
“We found that when you’re talking over zoom, you have the ability to google anything: a video you saw, an article. Sometimes that’s really helpful because it makes everyone more informed, but other times it’s distracting,” Aidan sai.
Once those initial issues were resolved the group even decided to incorporate technology into their discussions purposefully.
“We had a Netflix party of a documentary called American Factory, which was entertaining to watch and educational. It was a good break from the normal discussions,” said Log Opinions Editor Lily Potter ’21, a member of the Shultz Fellowship.
The Zoom discussions have been very productive for the group which has had discussions on everything from the ethics of Tik-Tok to the political climate of North Korea this past term.
“That people are all speaking equally and everyone is talking when they want is sometimes more difficult on zoom, but everyone and the presidents have done a good job of facilitating that,” Lily said.
Beyond the functionality of the group remaining intact, the community aspect of the group is thriving over the internet.
“It’s become a way to connect during this honestly difficult time for everyone,” Ryan said.
“We usually have tea at our meeting, so I’ve been making my own tea at home and drinking my tea like I’m actually on campus at a meeting.” Lily Potter ’21 said.