The Dawn of a New Day on the Campus of Kent State University

COVID Move-In

What a start to the year! The first wave of new students is moving into the residence halls today. I was curious to see what was happening. So I spent a couple of hours on campus this morning with my friend and colleague, Nick. We asked the family above if I could take their picture. They just seemed so emblematic of the times: masks on, walking through a quiet campus, Flashes Safe Seven billboard on the Student Center behind them.

Suffice to say: this is very different from most years! Even so, Nick and I had moderate success making connections with people. And we got a better sense of how this strange start to the school year is playing out.

Some of our best conversation happened near the Music Building. The Marching Band is still practicing, even though there will be no football games this Fall. We spent about a half-hour talking with three women from the Flutes & Piccolos section. They were on a break, and they seemed really glad for the interaction. I’m going to be praying for Kayla, Nicole, and Cam. And also for Pria (a Nepalese student working at the Tech Help Desk tent by the Quad). And Justin (pictured above in the white shirt).

I get the sense that sincerely curious and friendly pairs of people from H2O could have a lot of success connecting with people like these in the next few days. It honestly seems like people are going to be getting quite bored. Especially after their families drive back to East Liverpool (in the case of Justin) or wherever they’re from.

We asked a lot of questions like:

  • “How are things with COVID where you’re from?”
  • “Where’d you get your mask?”
  • “How are you feeling about this school year?”
  • “What are things like in your residence hall?”

I seriously think that we learned more in some of this morning’s interactions than we’ve learned through official University channels in the last three months. The University is taking the “Flashes Safe Seven” thing very seriously (which I think is a good thing). Residence Halls are a lot more spread out. And people are eager to connect with people, now that University life is starting up again. Let’s be encouraged! Let’s be hope-filled!

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