SIPBLOG: Team culture in the time of COVID-19 – 7/17/20

Published on Friday, July 17th, 2020

Team culture in the time of COVID-19

By Sofie Levin ’22, Rhode Island School of Design

Greetings MassDiGI-verse! My name is Sofie Levin and I am a rising junior at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and the lead of SIP20’s culture team, also known as Team Yogurt. Our team was specifically created this year with one purpose: to find ways to create bonds between all the SIP20 members while living and working in different places and in different time zones.

Working remotely during this internship has its challenges – not just for us, but for most people working remotely right now. From audio issues to our WiFi shutting down on us, one significant challenge has been trying to connect and bond with the rest of SIP20 members. Since we all belong to our own respective teams, SIP20 has few opportunities to connect with members of the other teams. Team Yogurt’s mission has been to create ways to familiarize everyone with each other and create a SIP community similar to that of past SIP years.

Culture screenshotOur team consists of one member from each SIP20 team: Ashley O’Handley from Team Donair, Whitney Kluttz from Team Linguini, Jasmine Duerk from Team Pork Dumplings, Marcus Johnson from Team Chowder, and me, representing Team Black Forest. When the team was first formed, we were like a rag tag group working together to solve our way out of a dungeon without any clue on  where to start. Barely acquainted with each other, it seemed almost impossible to try and tackle this quest to create a meaningful connection between all of the SIP20 members. As the leader, I too felt like I was ill equipped for this role. But as the weeks went by, we all were able to overcome our doubts and uncertainties and started to organize outside events which all of SIP20 could participate in.

Thanks to the power of technology, we have been able to find outlets which allow us to all communicate daily fairly easily. There are a plentiful amount of online platforms that enable us to reach out and participate with each other, such as Discord and Zoom. We have also used additional platforms which enable us to communicate with each other from the comforts of our own homes such as Netflix Party and more recently Amazon’s Watch Party. Jackbox, Minecraft and Smash Bros tournaments have been crowd favorites. We all have been able to find ways to connect with each other one way or the other, including the use of social media. With our main goal of creating a bond between all of the SIP20 members, we realized that we should have as many options as possible available for people to connect with one another, as some might not have certain platforms listed above. While Team Yogurt has organized our own events for the rest of SIP20 members, some outside of our team have already found ways to network with each other without our team’s help, something that I am thrilled to see happening.

While the connection we have in SIP20 differs from the previous years, I would argue that our connection in SIP20 is strong and equal to that of past years. We all have had the drive and desire to build connections with each other and, given our current services worked creatively to make it happen. It has been a lot of fun.

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