COVID-19, Monon, and Alumni on Campus

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The 127th Monon game will take place at Wabash this Saturday, Nov. 13, almost two years since the last fight for the Bell. Since last year’s game was cancelled due to COVID-19, many alumni plan to return to participate in the event, prompting both excitement on campus and wariness about COVID-19 safety.

Vice President Alan Hill ’81 is excited for the upcoming Monon Bell game, especially given that DePauw has gone undefeated in the conference this year. The event is even more special to Hill since he used to watch the game as a student here.

“I’m excited because I’m a Tiger through and through… for me, it’s meaningful,” Hill said. He also looks forward to catching up with some alumni who are coming back to campus for the game. 

Most importantly to Hill, the game is where the DePauw community becomes one. 

“It really sort of builds our pride into who we are… A lot of times, we don’t always seem to be completely together, but it brings us together,” Hill said. 

When asked if the game could present any problems with COVID-19, Hill said the mitigation team has been encouraging the DePauw community to wear masks and follow other COVID-19 policies. 

“Just because it’s a fun day and it’s a big vibrant day, it doesn’t mean that you forget the procedures and protocol that we have in place,” Hill said. Everyone is expected to not only keep themselves safe but also keep others safe. 

According to Stevie Baker-Watson, associate vice president for Campus Wellness, and Theodore Katula, director of Athletics and Recreational Sports, there is no specific COVID-19 policy for the Monon Bell game as Wabash College is managing COVID-19 on their campus similarly to DePauw. Most activities relating to the game are going to be outdoor, which is believed to be safer than indoor spaces in terms of COVID-19. 

Baker-Watson emphasized students’ roles in keeping Monon a safe event.

“You need to be responsible for your own personal health… if you’re unvaccinated, we’d ask that you mask when you’re around other people and of course stay home when you’re sick,” Baker-Watson said. She also emphasized student utilization of drop-in testing moving forward.

“Offering drop-in testing is wonderful and it provides great access for students, but it’s only valuable if the students take advantage of it,” Baker-Watson said. 

Alumnus Vinny Luciano ‘21 looks forward to returning to campus for the game.

“I feel excited to have the opportunity to reconnect with friends and a campus that has brought me many fond memories,” Luciano said.

While many students are eager to reconnect with old friends and enjoy the Bell game, few want to have to return to stricter COVID-19 policies.

“It’s complicated, right? I know some alumni are coming and I do have concerns, certainly, because I think we’ve relaxed our mask wearing. I know cases have been pretty low… but I still think it’s cause for concern. I really don’t want to go back to not being able to do things,” Conner Nicosen ‘22 said.

As exciting as the Monon Bell game this Saturday is going to be, the DePauw community needs to follow COVID-19 policies in order to ensure the safety of oneself and the campus.