Updated: Jul 24, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges for everyone in this new virtual environment and Residence Life is no different. It has had new challenges moving toward a virtual route especially because of its reliance on community interaction. But despite the setbacks, Residence Life has found a way of keeping the Meredith spirit alive. One of the challenges of a virtual move is how to keep a similar community experience as on-campus living. One way that they have attempted this is by allowing residence directors to continue to provide office hours virtually in order to stay connected to the needs of students. Another way Residence Life made moves to alter the normal procedures is by allowing resident assistants and community assistants to provide virtual socials and bulletin boards that keep a similar connection. Some on-campus virtual socials have included Netflix parties and Zoom meetings in which students can continue interacting with the community that they built during the school year. Because the purpose of on-campus living is to build a community, it is especially important to maintain that through such an unprecedented situation. Despite the new changes, there are still additional challenges that must be tackled. Many students took just what was essential, as per the email sent out on March 19 regarding retrieving personal items. While CamCards do not currently work to let students into residence halls, students can now begin emailing Residence Life to set up appointments to remove the rest of their belongings. This structured system will allow only a few students at a time in order to reduce the risk of spreading germs. If Meredith students return all at the same time, it could potentially be disastrous for people’s health. Housing sign-ups have also been a concern. Residence Life has confirmed that housing sign-ups will be occurring virtually. However, no other information has been released as to when sign-ups will occur and what system will be put in place to make it effective. Events such as housing sign-ups suffer when forced to move to a virtual medium. It is clear that coordinating the entire Meredith student body through a virtual medium presents a range of issues and is a huge endeavor. Regardless, the plans for housing sign-ups are still developing, and Residence Life has guaranteed that students will be informed of when it will be occurring well in advance. Like many other colleges, Meredith College has taken steps to combat the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions limiting the number of students allowed to stay on-campus have effectively forced students to reside in their homes for the duration of the semester. Only students who absolutely needed to stay on campus were allowed an exception of this move. This move was indeed necessary to protect the Meredith student body from a potentially dangerous environment in which COVID-19 could thrive. Despite the setbacks, Residence Life has tried to find ways of keeping the Meredith spirit alive.
By Yajaira Ramos-Ramirez, Staff Writer