German Student Organization

I started with GSO my freshman year of college, and then subsequently shadowed as the media and communications chair. We’re a really small organization, but once I took over that role I officially was in charge of social media and graphics. Eventually I moved up to Vice President and now (as of Fall 2020) President, so someone else runs the social media while I still make the promotional materials. 

Fall 2020 Updates and Campaigns

Shifting completely to a completely virtual set up for this semester was definitely challenging but ultimately necessary in order to keep the safety of our members and officers as our priority. Part of our goals this semester was to increase membership and engagement (as we try every semester), but we actually took the time to concentrate on our weak spots: promotion and organization. 

Working together with the social media chair, I created more promotional materials aimed at engaging with our members on Instagram and we planned early on in the semester events we could hold over Zoom that would offer students similar experiences as we used to have in person. 

I am so proud of the officers and I as we have doubled our followers on Instagram (@uga.gso) and have increased our consistent member attendance numbers by three-fold this semester. I am excited to go into next semester with everything that we have learned! See below for three of our most popular events from this semester – other events we held included a Jeopardy Night against Georgia Tech’s German Club, another unforeseen perk of going 100% virtual. 

GSO Oktoberfest

Our main event every year in the fall was Oktoberfest, which is normally a potluck held at our building’s front lawn. Obviously, some things had to be changed for Fall 2020.

We coordinated this event super early on because we knew that this was a kind of make-or-break event for the rest of the semester; this event had the most hype going into it and would cause the most damage if it fell short.

Fortunately, we spent a lot of time promoting the event before on Instagram, which had considerable engagement on our account. We hosted trivia through Instagram stories and hosted a giveaway at the event itself for a gift card from a local business in Athens.

Spukzeit Szenen

Spukzeit Szenen was our Halloween event, and it actually ended up being so much fun! Here is a Facebook post from the Germanic & Slavic Studies Department that goes into a bit more detail on how the event worked, but essentially we worked in teams to produce Halloween themed comics using a list of German ~spukhaft~ words.

St. Nikolaus Paper Shoe Making

For our last event of the semester, we actually partnered with International Student Life for their International Student Month and put on an early preparation for Nikolaustag by making paper shoes. We put together pre-made kits (including all crafting supplies and sweets to put in the shoes themselves) based on a survey we sent out and set up a socially distanced pick-up. This was such a nice way to end the semester, and it was encouraging to see how many people participated in this event given the extra work we put in beforehand! 

Our Posts from Nikolaustag (Dec. 6th, 2020)

We got a bunch of photo submissions, but I just highlighted my submission, in order to not showcase anyone’s photo in a context to which they did not previously agree.

Other Major Events

The main thing that I took on outside of graphics from the very beginning of working with GSO was working with larger events in order to get more exposure for our organization. The main event that I coordinated was the GSO booth at the International Street Festival, which was always a highlight in the spring. Working with International Student Life has been very beneficial to meeting new students who wouldn’t have otherwise known we were here, and it also opened the door to working with them in future events, such as the International Student Month in November 2020.

The other “event” that I take very seriously is helping out with conversation hours twice a week for the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, aka Stammtisch (Mondays at 5:00) and Kaffeestunde (Fridays at 3:00). These meetings are obviously held entirely in German and are open to German speakers of any level who wish to improve their speaking skills through casual conversation.

Earlier Posters and Campaigns

Stay tuned for a social media campaign, which is back in the works!

Description of GSO, from the Student Involvement Website:

The German Student Organization (GSO) is open to anyone interested in German language and culture! GSO fuses cultures and languages to foster an appreciation of German culture and a love for language. Events organized by GSO include movie/game nights, scavenger hunts, karaoke, presentations, pretzel tasting, and opportunities for practicing the German language.

*Our members need no prior knowledge of German culture or language to join us!