April Margol of the Associated Students of Orange Coast College office logged onto Zoom from the comfort of her own living room on Sept. 10. She had a cup of tea on hand and a list of nerd-centric questions prepared to break the conversational ice for a new event launched by the Student Life and Leadership Office, one created out of her own personal experience.
Geeky Tea Time is an online event that takes place on the second and fourth Thursday of every month from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Meetings are often assigned a theme, but discussions are predominantly informal and allowed to diverge.
“I usually have a question or two to get us started based around the theme, like ‘If you could travel backward or forward in time but only one which would you choose?’ Then it’ll be like, ‘Did you see that episode where Doctor Who visits Van Gough?’ and we’ll either geek out on Doctor Who or on art history, both of which are fine with me,” Margol said. “Mostly we just be together, drink tea, and chat. It’s a no pressure space event to just be yourself and relax.”
Prior to COVID-19, Margol had fallen into the habit of socializing with both students and colleagues in the campus Student Center. She would go to the center with a hot cup of tea and inevitably become enmeshed in conversations that ran the gamut of geek culture, from video games and television shows, to board games and books. Over time, these unofficial gatherings created a sense of community for Margol. With the campus now closed in favor of social distancing, she is now seeking to bring that community to Zoom.
“When it was announced that the Fall 2020 semester would be primarily online, the Student Life and Leadership Office was brainstorming ways to try and keep students connected with one another even though we’re far apart,” Margol said. “I thought back to my time on campus sitting in the Student Center Lounge and chatting with the students there while eating my lunch.”
The reoccurring tea time is not associated with any specific campus clubs, though Margol has invested time in clubs before. She contributed to the success of the OCC Virtual Club Fair earlier this year, and previously participated in the OCC Pride Club, Hiking Club and Anime Club when she attended classes as a student.
The next Geeky Tea Time is scheduled for Oct. 22, and the theme will be Halloween. To find more information about Geeky Tea Time, you can visit the ASOCC and Student Clubs & Organizations calendar, or hop onto the Zoom link here.