This year has obviously been completely unprecedented and has asked a lot of people to adjust to the unknown. On a smaller scale, Mercyhurst has done a great job of trying to allow students to enjoy as much of the real college experience, while also taking the necessary protective measures.
One thing I love about Mercyhurst is that they have two committees that plan and host events every weekend on both Friday and Saturday nights. MAC/SAC events are entirely run by students and these students are able to get an idea of what peers want to do on the weekends and they do their best to make that happen for them. Before COVID changed everything, these events would include leaving campus and traveling somewhere. Some of the events that took place in previous years were going to a pumpkin patch for Halloween or a water park in Erie to give the students a chance to get off-campus and have a break from the stress of classes.
This year, the committees have worked together to try and provide the students with a somewhat normal experience by continuing to host their weekly events. I think this is crucial for students, especially for freshmen who do not know that many people and they could potentially meet their best friends at those events. The activities this year have obviously been different, but overall, the committees have done a great job of trying to replicate the excitement of the events. I think that they have done the best they can while following the health restrictions. Most of the activities this year have been completely virtual but recently there has been the option to go in person for some of them. Most of the events have different time slots to attend in person and that way they can try and get as many students in person as possible. For the virtual ones, students could go pick up their supplies beforehand if it is a craft or activity of some sort, or for some of the events that are completely virtual, the students can simply log on to a Zoom call. I like the virtual ones because you can also do other things at the same time, so you can multitask. If it is completely virtual you can go over to your friend’s room and do it with them.
I do wish we could go off campus for something, like if they rented out a movie theater so all Mercyhurst students could social distance. I know it is definitely safer to stay on campus and limit our contact, but I think there are ways to have activities more like in years past. Some of the recent activities this semester have been a self-defense class, Mindfulness Night and Black Voices in Poetry. Last semester some of my favorites were Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf and Bowling Night. I do think that MAC/SAC is doing the best they can to try and replicate the typical year for students, but I do think that as cases go down, there could be more done to try and recreate normalcy of past years.