On March 6, 2020, The University of Washington announced it was officially closing its campus and moving all classes to online forums. Although it was the first college to close amid the COVID-19 outbreak, it was not the last. Instead, colleges across the United States and abroad have all shutdown and rearranged the remainder of their spring semester to take place online.
Closing a college campus means much more than adjusting to online classes, though. For many students, college campuses are a home away from home. School, sports, and organized activities make-up the daily lives of most students on campus.
News of online classes, suspended sports schedules, and cancelled activities also greatly impacted the futures of college seniors who were anticipating a full last semester to celebrate their upcoming graduations. With most college students now either home with their families or alone in their apartments, life itself seems to have halted.
So how do you maintain the college camaraderie and community you’ve grown to love during this period of social distancing and isolation?
For the Students Sent Home
Perhaps you’re a student who’s traveled back to your hometown for spring break and didn’t anticipate staying until further notice. Or maybe you’re a student who was previously studying abroad but is now stuck logging onto classes from your childhood bedroom. Either way, it’s easy to feel homesick for your college friends and community when you’re grounded. So how do you forget your position and keep your attitude positive and your school spirit alive?
Get the family involved! The average collegiate school day doesn’t look or feel the same when you’re not surrounded by a sea of students wearing similar colors and logos. There’s a simple sense of community that is undeniable when you wear your school’s crest proudly on your chest with a collective group of people. Recruit your parents, siblings, and even your family pet to wear your favorite school apparel. Sure they may not be your classmates, but simply being surrounded by beloved school colors and mascots is a connection to your friends and professors that cannot be cancelled by contagion.
For Students Alone
For most college students, attending sporting events is not only a matter of entertainment, it is also a major social interaction. Whether you’re cheering alongside your best buddies in the stands or raising a glass from a campus bar, college games are meant to be shared. So when both professional and collegiate leagues suspended their seasons, college fans were forced to stay away from stadiums, bars, and even other groups of fans. So how do you survive quarantine and support your favorite team?
Try trivia: lockdown edition. No, you won’t be able to physically get together with your friends, but with apps like FaceTime and Zoom, you can still sit in front of your computer camera in your favorite game day gear to talk about your favorite teams. Think of it like hosting a virtual trivia night. Research and collect different trivia questions about your favorite teams and test your friends’ knowledge online. With apps like Netflix Party, you can also watch your favorite sports movies or highlight reels together from the comfort of your own individual homes. Sure, the social interaction will still be distant, but with everyone online and dressed up in their favorite team’s attire, the spirit can remain the same.