Since 2003, the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico’s Community Experience has hosted Spring Storm—an event dedicated to helping the UNM campus and surrounding areas. However, with COVID-19, students had to rethink their annual event and created a Virtual Spring Storm.

Throughout the year, Community Experience hosts a variety of community service events, but their annual Spring Storm event is their largest by far. Because of this, when Community Experience announced that Spring Storm was cancelled due to COVID-19, many students were left heartbroken.

However, Community Experience was not letting this be end of the Spring Storm tradition. Instead the staff got to work and began brainstorming how to keep the traditional alive. That’s when the idea of a Virtual Spring Storm came about.

Students took to social media to spread the word. The concept was that Lobos—no matter where they are—would put on their favorite Spring Storm or UNM shirt and get to work as long as it practiced social distancing guidelines. After the job was completed, students were to snap a picture and post it on social media.

Virtual Spring Storm saw almost one hundred volunteers giving back to their community. Activities included yard work, picking up groceries for the elderly, donating personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers, and more.

Community Experience Director Lynn Midani explains that now is a time more than ever to give back to the community.

 “It’s really important to have Spring Storm during a time of social distancing because people and organizations around Albuquerque need our help more than ever,” states Midani. “Even though Spring Storm is typically an in-person event, helping out in your community while maintaining social distancing and doing something that might seem small to you, can have such a large impact on others.

"Spring Storm this year was so amazing because it had the ability to touch people that might’ve not been impacted by our event if it was in normal conditions.”

For more volunteer opportunities, follow @asunm_ce on Instagram.