USB adapts to distance learning


Since the start of the new school year, many programs on the Diamond Bar High School campus have been struggling with financial stability and student engagement. Among them is USB, yet the group has been  one of the quickest to adapt. 

With the uncertainty concerning vague estimates of returns to on-campus learning, students have been more hesitant to purchase activity cards, which are a critical source of income for USB, resulting in budget reductions, USB members report. 

“The pandemic did impact USB financially as we are on a tighter budget,” junior spirit representative Ashley Lin said via Instagram. “Usually we get our income from activity cards during registration in summer, but since we possibly may not be on campus this year we had a drastic decrease in activity card sales.”

Crucial fundraising events that USB holds throughout the year were also canceled due to quarantine, resulting in a declining budget over the course of the year. 

“A huge fundraiser for our programs is also bingo and that has been canceled due to COVID,” USB director Janna Van Horn said via email. “This has definitely impacted the resources we typically can use for our school activities.” 

Nevertheless, current USB members have been brainstorming ideas on how to transition traditional events to virtual ones despite their dire financial straits.

“USB is working extremely hard to come up with creative alternatives for our traditional in school activities,” Van Horn said via email. “Some events translate into a virtual platform but some do not.”

Adhering to the limitations set by the Los Angeles County of Education, USB has taken to hosting interactive activities that reach out to students of all grades through social media. On their Instagram (@diamondbarusb) the group has promoted a multitude of engaging activities in addition to the usual fare, including alumni Q&As, scavenger hunts and pen pals. 

However, plans for highly anticipated events like rallies and dances remain uncertain, and have continued to be discussed throughout quarantine. 

“There is actually also a homecoming event coming, we are in the midst of planning and executing it,” Lin said. “We have not gotten the money for it yet because we get that money through ticket sales which have not happened yet though.”

Despite the challenges USB has been presented with, the group has since shifted its focus toward strengthening bonds with the student population as well as one another. 

“The negative aspects include, of course, not being able to plan and do the traditional events we have such as senior sunrise, dances and rallies, but these circumstances have allowed us to think outside of the box,” Lin said. “It has challenged us to do what we can but we are up to the challenge, and we can’t wait for what the new school year has to offer.”