Now that the quarantine has closed the PCC campuses for almost a month, students have been itching to find ways to communicate with each other outside of online conference classes. A group of students have found a solution, through the form of Discord.
Discord is a social networking app that was originally designed for gamers, where members can chat through audio, video, and text. Over 60 students have congregated within the Center for the Arts Simulator (CAS), originally set up by student Justin Gonzales, which now hosts rehearsals, classes and movie nights.
This server was not originally made for the COVID-19 related shutdown of PCC, according to members of the CAS Discord. Members utilize the chat to talk about music, politics and memes on any given night.
Student Ryan Huynh, one of the first members to join the CAS server.
“[It was created ] basically for fun, but since the whole virus situation it transformed into what it needed to be, a fast communication tool,” Huynh said.
The server contains channels like The Lab, The Hallway and The Bathroom. These channels are recreations of areas that music students frequent, each serving a different purpose. The Hallway hosts the general chat and The Bathroom channel is reminiscent of the Center of the Arts basement bathroom, as they both hold only one person.
“We created this the last day of school before [the campus got closed],” said Huynh. “[Once the school announced the campus closure], we started sending invites to everyone we knew.”
Even with all the fun and games, classes and rehearsals are still in session.
CAS also doubles as an area for Henry Shin’s classes. Music Instructor Henry Shin makes use of this server to teach and hold rehearsals for music history, applied music, chamber music and the orchestra. He decided to utilize this Discord server because he was already familiar with the app.
Lectures have transferred into remote teaching easily, said Shin. However, there are more difficulties when it comes to rehearsals.
“The online format doesn’t allow each other to react quickly enough,” said Shin. “It’s very difficult to sync up any kind of performance. We’ve come up with some small workarounds but I don’t think it comes close to the actual thing.”
The server is not only entertaining members during this difficult time, but also affecting the way students interact with each other.
“I do notice that the more introverted students have an easier time communicating with me,” said Shin. “The students that often sit in the back and don’t say a word are much more vocal and interactive than they have ever been.”
The more laid back feel of online chat rooms, combined with bots that mimic mannerisms of music professors and the freedom to chat at any time of day, have allowed this server to become a familiar and comforting space for music students that’s reminiscent of being at PCC.