The campus community here at Alma College has undergone drastic changes since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in February of 2020. Residence Life staff, professors and students alike scrambled to adjust to the dynamic guidelines, and continue to do so every day to ensure our campus remains safe and healthy.
Many of the new campus guidelines relating to COVID-19 remain in place from the fall semester, but some new guidelines have been implemented as students settle in for the winter semester.
“We made some changes to campus policies, especially in the residence halls, to try to create better options for students to gather socially and safely,” said Residence Life staff.
Many of the new guidelines implemented on campus serve as responses to unexpected challenges the campus community faced last semester. Some students struggled to follow guidelines relating to visiting friends during these isolating times.
“When we looked at what we learned last semester, we knew that we could not safely allow students to visit each other in their rooms at this time, so we wanted to create other spaces so students can get together socially,” said Residence Life Staff.
“The solution we implemented was opening the residence hall lobbies and study rooms to all students, even if they do not live in that building. We want students to use these spaces since they are big enough to support socially distanced groups of people and give students more options during cold weather.”
Although some students struggled to follow new COVID-19-related guidelines last semester, the overall response of the campus community to new guidelines has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The majority of Alma students have been doing a great job following safety precautions,” said Residence Life staff.
“I have been impressed by the community-minded approach that many students have – you know that the decisions you make during a pandemic affect more than just yourselves. They affect your friends, professors, staff, neighbors, and families. That said, all of us make mistakes, and it helps when someone notices and gives a friendly reminder. As students, you can always help remind a friend or classmate. The conversations you have with each other can be powerful! If you notice something that is serious or that you aren’t comfortable confronting on your own, you can always share your concern with student affairs through our reporting form.”
Keeping the campus community safe and healthy can feel like a daunting task as students maneuver new testing protocols and new campus-wide restrictions as they also settle-in to new classes and schedules, but administration rewards the hard work and dedication of Alma students.
“We know that we are asking a lot to keep our campus and community safe, but we are also working hard to create some positive things on campus,” said Residence Life staff.
“Here are my top tips for this semester: Check the campus calendar for events that are happening on campus. ACUB and other groups have planned some great events for this semester, especially on the weekends. Most of these events have an in-person component and are free for all students.”
“Plan something fun with your friends in one of the lobbies. Use the TVs for a movie night, start up a game night, or just get together to talk. These spaces are for you, and we want them to be used.”
“If you need help, please ask for it. There are lots of people on campus who are here to help. If you’re not sure where to go, you can always ask an RA or raise your hand on Starfish. If you have ideas, please let us know! We can’t guarantee that everything will be possible, but we always want to hear your thoughts.”