More safe, more social: the DePauw experience reimagined

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Around 1,200 students will be on campus for the remainder of the Spring semester. With this massive step, some level of quarantine and isolation will be necessary. Ultimately, though, it is up to us to create and foster a safe and fun semester that adheres to CDC guidelines. 

Our age group may be low risk for serious complications, but we are not immune to the virus, and we can still spread it to immunocompromised students, faculty and staff, and the greater Greencastle community. Regardless of your reasons for returning to DePauw, things will be different. They need to be different. 

For nearly a year, we have been pushed inside our room and out of our comfort zones. Now is the time to leave our rooms, to see each other, and to have the social interaction that we have been craving. But the inescapable reality is that we are still in a pandemic. We are also still in college. Both of those things can be true.

COVID-19 has transformed the DePauw experience we are accustomed to. It sucks, and it’s okay to acknowledge that. However, this is not something to dwell on. We will get used to swiping into every building, recognizing each other under our masked faces, and eating out of Hoover takeout containers. 

DePauw has announced COVID-19-friendly events such as the return of movies at Ashley Square Cinema, scavenger hunts, food truck Fridays, and the new beer garden, which will open this weekend. In addition, we, your trusted news source and fellow students, have brainstormed other ways to safely-engage with our friends this semester on campus.

Even though we might be tired of staring at our screens, technology is a great way to connect. So let’s use it to play drinking games on Zoom (if you are 21) or host Hulu watch parties from the comfort of your bed. Harness your inner child and get outside! Midwest winters are perfect for snowball fights, fort-building, sledding, and walking around campus with your friends.

We have some suggestions for DePauw, too: host bonfires that students can gather at, provide students with paid Zoom accounts so we can host uninterrupted virtual hangouts, and amend the visitor policy so students don’t leave the campus bubble to hangout with their friends at bowling alleys, bars and restaurants, or downtown Indy. 

We can make campus a safe and fun bubble, but it is essential that we start holding our friends, teammates, and Greek houses accountable. We can’t do it without everyone doing their part.