Global Pandemic Disturbs Campus Dynamics

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Tessa Lemke '21, Contributing Writer

Life on Dickinson’s campus has changed drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes are now being held online, buildings are closed, parking lots are empty, and the majority of the students have  gone home.

But some students are still here. “I miss the campus full of people, the Quarry, and library”, Diana Zolkina ’21 said.

Most American students are required to stay at home, but some students have successfully petitioned to remain living on campus.

However, “the campus atmosphere has completely changed due to social distancing,” Liz Bodenman ’20 said. The Waidner-Spahr Library, the Kline Center, all academic buildings, the Quarry, Union Station, and the cafeteria are closed, and the cafeteria now functions with a takeout system. Every student has to order at the entrance of the cafeteria and then pick up their food at the Grab & Go entrance. “Now we have fewer options, but I am thankful that at least the students remaining on campus do not have to worry about food as it is provided for us,” Sümeyye Gündogmus ’21 said.

Another change is the enforcement of social distancing in the Holland Union Building (HUB), this is visible through the signs posted around the building. With this Dickinson College is trying to stop the spread and flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections, as it says on the note. Nevertheless, Sarah Saleh ’21 feels like the college wants students to spend their whole day in their rooms as they have taken away the sofas in the main level of the HUB, even though it would be possible for students to eat there with a six foot distance in between each other.

Zolkina is struggling with the new online format as she now has to speak less but write more during and outside of class, she said. Students on campus also now have to study in their dorm rooms as the library is closed. This is a big change for many students. Zolkina said that it is difficult for her to concentrate at home and do all her schoolwork at home. Students can also be seen studying in the HUB, as it is the only building open to students on campus besides their residence halls. However, the HUB is only open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily, according to Ensign’s email. Zolkina said that now she is communicating with her friends frequently via Facebook Messenger.

“At least I’m lucky because I have people with me and we try to support each other”, Valeria Gregori, an Overseas Language Assistant from Italy, said. In this situation students are relying on their social contacts.

Students can also rely on faculty for support. “They’ve [the faculty] been able to provide personal support,” Nuhan B. Abid ‘22 said. He adds that it shows that Dickinson College is taking extended care about its students in this unusual situation.

On March 10, students received an email from President Margee Ensign stating that spring break had been extended by a week. On March 16 Dickinson College made the decision to complete the semester with online classes.