Parties During A Pandemic

I believe I speak for many students at the University when I say I am bored, upset and beyond frustrated with the state of things on campus. Since March I have longed for the day I would be able to return. After being here about a month, I'm questioning why exactly I was so excited in the first place.

The administration made a great effort in ensuring students would be back on campus and attending classes this semester. So far, they have succeeded in that — to an extent. Where it has failed is in the lack of any on-campus activities or student outreach efforts.

There's simply nothing to get out and do this semester. I've been reading posts from LSU parents telling stories on social media about how lonely their Tigers are — freshmen especially — and it's got me thinking about what we could be doing differently.

What's the point for students to come to Baton Rouge from across the country just to sit in front of a computer screen all day, while still paying full tuition? I've concluded that for the administration it is not about students' well-being or about giving them the college experience — it's about money.

Only two of my five classes actually meet. Both are virtual. The other three are asynchronous, meaning the professor posts an assignment to Moodle once a week and it is up to the students to do the work and learn the material. Remind me again — what exactly are we paying full price for?

Aside from the lack of academic structure, administration officials expect students to stay six feet away from each other at all times and keep any form of contact to a minimum. Student organizations are advised to host meetings via Zoom. Well, news flash: Zoom hasn't been doing the trick.

I ask University officials to put themselves in students’ shoes for a second. There is no way to meet new people, find activities and clubs to enjoy or be an otherwise active student on a campus where there is absolutely nothing to do.

I am calling on our administration to fix this. You don't want us gathering in confined areas. Fine. No parties or large hangouts  understood. So give us an alternative. There are students and on-campus organizations willing to get creative with safe, fun options; so let’s make it happen.

We could do something as simple as movie nights on the Parade Ground. Circles could be set up for distancing, and everyone can wear a mask.

Or a food truck night: allow different restaurants to bring dinner to the Parade Ground, and students can enjoy their meals while also being able to engage with others. Even a spirit week leading up to the first football game would be interesting, with each day being a different activity or event.

Other than the University itself putting on events, student organizations should do everything they can to have club meetings where students can engage with one another. Freshmen dorms should have hall events so new students can meet their neighbors.

These are just some of my ideas. Maybe they're not yet feasible, but we have to start somewhere; and if we work together, the possibilities are endless.

Elizabeth Crochet is a 19-year-old political communication sophomore from New Orleans. 

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