Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

University Programs brings back ‘Engagement Pods’ to campus

Courtesy of University Programs

Engagement Pods, started by University Programs in 2020, are back this semester to give students an opportunity to lead and build community.  

The 17 small groups, which allow students to meet regularly and build friendships around shared interests, range across a diverse set of topics, from athletics to craft making. Applications to be a leader of a pod closed last Wednesday. 

During the pandemic, in 2020, Engagement Pods were introduced as a way for students to safely connect with one another. Pods were limited in size and had a capacity of 10 people per group. The pods this semester do not have a maximum and any number of students are free to join.  

 Kayla Ballard, University Programs’ assistant director of leadership programming, said that during the application process, it was important to not deny a student or their idea for an Engagement Pod and that the leaders include undergraduate and graduate students. 

 The student leaders oversee all aspects of their pod such as the meeting times, meeting locations, and what the topic is.  

 Chad Wright is a junior majoring in political science and is the executive team lead of leadership engagement under University Programs.   

Wright said that the main goal of Engagement Pods is to provide an informal setting that allows people to build connections and friendships. 

Wright also said that because “you get out of it what you put in,” University Programs encourages students to come back each week to participate in a pod.  

 Avery Thaxton, a junior majoring in business management, leads an Engagement Pod called Walkie-Talkie, which focuses on building new relationships with people while enjoying coffee and walking around campus. 

 “The purpose is to create a supportive community where individuals prioritize wellness, build friendships, cultivate social connections, and foster discussions, all while engaging in activity,” Thaxton wrote in an email. 

 Thaxton wrote that she became a leader for Engagement Pods to “make a large school feel smaller.”  

 “I love bonding with others that focus on self-growth and making new friends! I believe a large part of growing is having a community to keep you accountable, and a leadership engagement pod can do just that,” Thaxton wrote. 

 Students can find a full list of the pods and fill out a form to join one at the University Programs website.  

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