Because of the pandemic, more and more students are being required to quarantine if they are ill or are a close contact for COVID-19. Although quarantine is not something to be ashamed about, students can feel lonely and anxious during this isolating time. Because of this, Mercyhurst has created a program to help students who are quarantining. This program is called the Laker Link Program.
A Laker Link is a student who has volunteered their time to contact those students who are quarantining and who have elected to participate in the program. A Laker Link is not a counselor; however, they are another student here on campus who has offered to stay in touch with quarantined or isolated students. Depending on the student’s preferences, the number of contact students receives from a Laker Link varies. These students will get to know each other by connecting virtually through text, email, or Zoom. According to Sarah Allen, director of the Campus Involvement Center, the program has various aspects in order to make the students who are involved as comfortable as possible.
Allen and the program strive to provide comfort through contact and supportive aid to make sure students are still given the opportunity to attend events virtually. When a student is quarantined, they will receive an email from either Allen, Steph Przepiora, Leadership and Outreach coordinator, or Jenell Patton, assistant director of Campus Ministry, letting the student know about this program. It is important to know that this program is voluntary on both ends. Therefore, if a student is interested, they would fill out a form to be connected with a Laker Link. Also, if a student would like to volunteer to be a Laker Link, they would also fill out a form to offer their time. Przepiora receives the forms and matches the student in quarantine with a student volunteer.
“Many of these students are Campus Ministry student lead-ers, student government members, Laker Leaders or students in the Leadership Development Program, so you can trust them to be a good connection,” said Przepiora. “However, do not shy away from filling out a form if you are interested in becoming a Lak-er Link and are not one of those things.” This program helps students who may just need an extra person to talk to while they are quarantined.
Sometimes our friends and family members are busy when we are bored or maybe someone does not have a large friend group on campus and just wants another person to talk to. Being quarantined or isolated can be lonely, and that is why this program can help students feeling that way. A Laker Link will also have the ability to access resources and will be able to contact Przepiora, Allen, or Patton if they need help with things to do. For instance, they have DIY activities that can be delivered to quarantined students and virtual entertainment ideas. This program is beneficial in many aspects and the goal is to help students no matter what.