Social distanced and sanitized welcomes

Hamline began in-person activity again this fall after months of planning and Covid preparations.

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Carmen Danz

While Hamline students are returning back to campus, the 2020 fall semester is welcoming Pipers new ways due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Anika Besst, Senior Reporter

The 2020-21 school year was kicked off with a hybrid orientation for first-year and transfer students on Friday, August 28. This was followed by the fall semester getting underway the following Monday, August 31, with the campus’s usual Welcome Week activities beginning. 

Welcome Week this year consisted of some traditional events with adapted settings and rules to abide by Covid-19 protocols. This year’s line up included Adopt-A-Plant, Welcome Week Bingo, Movie On the Lawn, Welcome Back Block Party, Mask Up and Mask Out and the Org Fair. 

“It was good, it was just kind of weird since it was really my first time going out into public to avoid… Covid, but it was also nice to be on campus again,” said first-year Brandy Sanchez Dominguez. 

Hamline University Programming Board (HUPB), Student Activities and Leadership Development (SALD) and Hamline University Residential Housing Association (RHA) planned and hosted the events throughout the two first weeks.

“The general consensus was, as a university, we still feel it’s really important that we are able to offer some in-person programs and activities regardless of the circumstances of the world right now,” said Patrick Haught, assistant director of student activities and leadership development. “We owe it to our students who are paying these dollars, we owe these students an opportunity to connect and meet people at the start of a year,” said Haught. 

These events were hosted outside with mask mandates and the physical distancing availability. 

“I think they obeyed [Covid-19 protocols] as well as they could have,” said first-year Ethan Hermann.“In most situations, I do feel safe, it’s just hard to ignore that looming sensation of danger, of Covid.” 

Along with providing more-than-adequate amount of space, hosting events outside and mask mandates, these organizations collected names for contact-tracing purposes. 

“In the future we are going to be trying to do more virtual events, and try as many movie on the lawns as we can because we can’t do off campus events, but after that we are going to do virtual and grab and go type events so we can space people out as much as possible,” said Shannon Holman, HUPB Development Outreach Coordinator. 

Coming soon, HUPB is hosting a vegan dinner night, virtual lip sync competition and another movie on the lawn and RHA will be hosting virtual biweekly trivia. 

“There is definitely a feeling of being welcomed…At the end of the day that’s what stuck out to me most: that sense of community… As much as there is a disconnect with Covid, it’s a little bit harder to interact socially because people are six feet apart, and especially if you’re a first-year student you don’t know anybody, but even with that social interaction you can still feel you’re a part of something,” said Hermann. 

To learn more about future events and how to get involved follow @hupb and @hamlinerha on Instagram.