How COVID-19 has redefined campus life for first-year students


Hannah Mirsky

First-year students at Quinnipiac University were surprised to see that socializing and meeting new people despite social distance guidelines was not as hard as they imagined.

Student’s opportunities to get a proper first-year experience were more limited than previous years but the current version of campus life .

“I certainly think it has its challenges when you can’t just freely interact with anyone at any time that you want to,” said Erin Provistalis, director of campus life for student careers in student involvement.

Many virtual events have been held throughout these first two weeks of school, as students continue to move into the residendencial halls. The Student Programming Board has been promoting events such as virtual bingo, trivia, family game nights and the grab and go paint kits on their social media.

Whether students live on or off campus, they are still able to join the events and meet other students.

“We are doing our best to encourage the students to take advantage of those opportunities and get out of their rooms and come out and come eat lunch under the tent because you have a little bit more freedom under there to interact with more people,” Provistalis said.

Quinnipiac set up tents in the South Lot to provide for more areas on campus where students can gather socially distanced.

Khristoff Lawes, a first-year international student biology major, from Dominica felt nervous before coming to Quinnipiac because he wasn’t sure if he would make friends.

“Coming to QU, I was a little scared that I wasn’t going to meet anybody because I am the only one from my country that I knew of at the time,” Lawes said.

Lawes instantly felt welcomed the minute he stepped foot on campus.

“The first few minutes I walked onto campus there were a bunch of girls that came up to me and asked how I was doing,” Lawes said.

An involvement fair will be held the week of September 14-18, where all student organizations will set up tables on different days to talk about their organizations and meet new students.

“It’s going to be mini involvement fairs each day on the quad where we highlight 25 organizations from 4 to 6,” Provistalis said.

In the past, the involvement fair has been a way for students to talk to and join organizations that fit their interests.

Gabrielle Neiss, a first-year nursing major, living in a nursing living learning community (LLC) says living with students of the same major helps her feel more immersed in Quinnipiac.

“I am in the living learning commons for nursing so I am in a lot of the same classes as my roommates so if I need help or anything like that, I call out to them,” Neiss said.

In-person courses begin on Labor Day and students will be able to meet their classmates in person for the first time based on cohort.

“Even though there are classes online, at the end of the day everyone is on campus and you are able to meet up, talk, mingle and make friends,” Lawes said. “At home you really can’t do that, you are by yourself.”

According to Provistalis, meeting students in person is not enough to be engaged in campus life.

“You have to put yourself out there on some level in order to connect and make friends,” Provistalis said. “So whether you have a mask on or not, that’s irrelevant. You have to be willing to take those initial steps and to me it’s not any different.”

Social distancing guidelines will be enforced throughout the semester, but virtual and on-campus events will continue for students to connect. Students are encouraged to take every opportunity that is given to them during their first semester at Quinnipiac.