Students come to grips with campus life during a pandemic Friday, Sep 18 2020 

By Gabriel Howard —

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the nation, schools have had to come up with new and creative ways to provide a safe and engaging learning environment. And while the inclusion of online courses has been a welcome addition, how have things been for those who still have classes in-person?

Dealing with the pandemic has been a challenge for the university. Moving most classes online has helped ease the stress of delivering classes to the students.

However, roughly 30% of the students enrolled are still having to go to in-person classes during the fall semester.

Diana Romero, a freshman, shared that her experience on campus this fall is much different than when she visited last year.

“When I toured here this time last year the campus seemed vibrant and full of life. I was excited to experience all of the things you would expect in your freshman year,” Romero said. “Things feel different now that classes have finally started. All of the things I wanted to do are simply impossible in the current climate. The campus itself feels quiet and is completely different from what I expected.”

Romero also felt that her experience with in-person classes is much different from what she expected. She commends professors for making it as welcoming as possible, but still feels a little weird going to in-person classes amidst a global pandemic.

The required COVID-19 testing she and her classmates have participated in has eased nerves slightly.

Her experience is something a lot of students can relate to. Most have opted for an entirely online schedule to minimize the risk that coming to campus and potentially being exposed to COVID-19 presents.

In a normal fall semester, campus is usually packed, however, it now feels like it is finals week 24/7. Food lines are small and the classrooms are even smaller. And with the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, this will unfortunately be our new norm for the foreseeable future.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Indoor roller-rink invites students to enjoy socially-distant fun Monday, Aug 17 2020 

By Zoe Watkins —

Campus has been mostly empty since students left back in March. However, last week was full of events tailored for freshmen to adjust to their new campus life. Welcome Week is the first taste that incoming freshmen get when they first arrive on campus, spanning across the week before classes. This year Welcome Week was from Aug. 12 through Aug. 16.

Due to COVID-19, a lot has changed including new protocols and rules to help keep students and faculty safe and healthy. Despite this, there were still many socially distant Welcome Week events going on, including a regular event hosted by the Student Activities Board.

Julie Nwosu, vice-chair of the campus life committee, said this year’s event “Cardinal World,” is an adapted take on their “Cardnival.”

“Every year, SAB hosts a Welcome Week event,” Nwosu said. “Every year it is kind of a different theme, so we went with a theme that would stand out more,” Nwosu explained.

The event took inspiration from “AstroWorld” by Travis Scott. “Cardinal World” featured an indoor roller-skating rink where students could skate and listen to music. Dinner was provided in the Red Barn as well.

Leanne-Sarah Dnamba, who serves as the campus life committee’s chair, said that having a roller rink indoors was like a carnival theme to them. The committee wanted it to have similar visuals to AstroWorld, think glow-in-the-dark, universe imagery and good music.

“Obviously, with the new COVID regulation it was a little bit hard for us to find activities to have for returning and incoming freshmen. So, we thought of a skating rink,” said Dnamba.

SAB had other events scheduled for Welcome Week, but due to the new regulations, most were canceled due to concerns of being able to follow proper social distance guidelines. In total, there were three other events planned besides the roller rink, which Nwosu said were trap-karaoke, Zumba and a silent disco.

Despite all the cancellations, the roller rink was decided to be the best course of action since there was a way to keep practicing social distancing while people could still have fun at the event.

Dnamba explained that cones were set out throughout the SAC to keep a six-foot distance between students who were waiting in line. A max limit of 50 people were allowed into the ballroom where the skating rink was, and anyone who attended the event was required to wear a mask. There was also someone regularly sanitizing tables once students left.

SAB also used different colored wristbands to schedule times when students could come.

“It would give us enough time to clean all the roller skates and clean the place they’re going to be roller skating so we could follow all of the guidelines of the university that they gave us,” Nowsu said.

Even with all the new regulations and social distancing, many students still showed up to skate and have fun.

Freshman Ellie Bruner came out to the event with some friends to enjoy the night. Despite not being able to participate in many of the events planned for Welcome Week, she said that the roller-skating rink was her favorite so far. “I’m not very good at it and I haven’t skated in a couple years probably, but I think its fun,” Bruner said.

If a student missed this event, there are still some coming down the road this fall semester; however,  it remains to be seen on what they are. Nowsu said that the board has decided to host all future events virtually for the time being.

“Right now, we’re just taking our time. We are seeing how this event goes and how everything is going to go and move forward with the fall semester. We have a few things planned, but we’re going to keep that to ourselves for now until we see how things go.” Dnamba said.

Photo By Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

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There’s plenty of ways to get involved in campus life Wednesday, Apr 22 2020 

By Zoe Watkins — 

Even after Orientation and Welcome Week, the campus stays vibrant as ever almost every single day. There is no rest to campus life as there are many different things that a student can do to get involved with campus life and take part in the fun.

There’s plenty of social organizations for everyone’s interest

U of L offers many ways for students to be more social from Greek life to Recognized Student Organizations (RSO).

Even though she didn’t like the idea of joining a sorority at first, Junior Akanksha Gupta joined Kappa Delta (KD)after some her older friends pushed her to go through recruitment.

“Looking back, it was definitely the best decision I’ve made in college. I met so many of my best friends and have made connections that I never could’ve made before,” Gupta said.

She said a freshman should join a sorority or fraternity as it helps make them become a better person. KD shaped her into the person she is today as well as helped her grow. Gupta also said she gained life-long friends that have helped her make it through college.

If someone wishes to join a sorority or fraternity, Gupta said registration opens up on May 1.

Besides Greek life, the variety of RSOs offers students a chance to find new interests. Besides new interests, it is also a way to find people who share the same likes which was the case for junior Nicole Anderson when she joined the Tabletop Gaming Club for D&D.

Anderson says joining an RSO is a healthy way to fill downtime.

“You get to relax, share passions, make friends, and you get to learn about new stuff related to your passion,” she said.

Have a voice in our campus government

Make some change to campus through the Student Government Association (SGA), or even bring voice to a specific college since each branch of SGA has their own student council as well freshman council.

Sophomore Alexa Meza joined the Arts & Science Student council her freshman year as she needed a place where she could be herself and do the things that she loved.

“Through SGA, I’ve found some of my best friends and discovered the thing I’m really passionate about improving on campus,” Meza said.

She says what she loves the most about U of L’s student government is how it empowers students to improve areas in campus services or academic polices, solve problems, voice concerns and make change happen.

“The purpose of student government here at U of L, to me, is about improving the quality of life for students that are already here and making sure we give them the opportunity, the resources, and the desire to come back each year until they graduate,” she said.

Give back to the cardinal family

If the two options above aren’t interesting, there is still lots of ways to get involved with campus life especially with volunteering. This part of campus is heavily integrated into the cardinal community as there are plenty of days of service and even the Engage Lead Serve Board (ELSB) which offers service opportunities.

According louisville.edu, some things that students can do to volunteer is do a day of service such as MLK Day of Service, be a classroom note taker to help students with disabilities, become a Resident Assistant (RA) for campus housing or apply to be a Campus Tour Guide.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Despite not being able to meet, RSOs are still finding ways to engage Thursday, Mar 26 2020 

By Victoria Doll —

All on-campus events and activities have been cancelled until further notice due to the spread of COVID-19. According to the University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi, online instruction is extended to the end of the semester and so are final exams; therefore, all campus events are suspended as well. 

In her latest email, Bendapudi said, “Events hosted by any University of Louisville entity or at any University of Louisville facility are to be postponed or cancelled through at least April 28th.” 

Even though there are no in-person meeting times for U of L’s clubs, there are still ways to participate and stay engaged. According to Julia Onnembo, University of Louisville’s assistant director of student involvement, a great way to stay engaged is to use the Engage website to cast your vote to elect your RSO Officers.

She said, “Engage has a great election program that you can use to run a virtual ballot in your individual portals.”  

Another way that campus RSOs are staying engaged is through group chats. A lot of clubs are maintaining communication through the app GroupMe or other mass messaging apps. 

To keep business flowing as normal as possible, some clubs use the platform Zoom to host online meetings and hold elections. For example, The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) club on campus continues to host meetings through Zoom to discuss basic club information and how to move forward. 

NSCS’s President Ashley Ward, said, “These unprecedented times call for leaders who can adapt to abrupt changes. As a student leader of an RSO, my fellow officers and I have agreed to continue to offer open communication.” 

She continued to say that she encourages all RSOs to adjust as best as possible. “Student leaders need to adjust to online meetings, emails, social media and independent activities. Our primary purpose right now is to be an outlet for questions and concerns. Since we have quickly learned to adapt to an online campus, I know that we can face future challenges.”

Ashley has hope that even though these times are challenging, next semester the NSCS club and the community of U of L will be closer as a community. 

Overall, there isn’t much that anyone can do besides focus on classes and help the cause by staying inside and following other CDC guidelines.

Bendapudi concluded her email with some thoughtful advice and words of encouragement. “Despite all the busy-ness, I hope you will take a moment to pause.  Slow down.  Anchor yourself in what matters most to you. Together we will persevere through this tumultuous time and come out the other side a stronger, more unified university community.” 

File photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Uncertainty hangs over remaining campus students and resources Monday, Mar 23 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

The Cardinal’s Assistant Editor-in-Chief gives an update on campus life amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uncertainty hangs over empty walkways and seas of upright chairs. Any other day, a look at an almost empty Ekstrom library and you’d think University of Louisville students were away celebrating some long awaited break.

A week before Spring Break, no one would have predicted U of L President Neeli Bendapudi would make the decision to move classes online until the end of the semester and postpone Spring Commencement.

As the world around us hastily comes to a halt, so does life on U of L’s campuses. While a majority of students are holed up in the apartments or with family preparing for online classes, a few still remain working in “essential” university services like dining or the Campus Store. However as more and more places shut their doors and students are moved out of campus housing, worry continues to grow.

Amber Hurst, a gap year student working at the Campus Bookstore, has been working at the store for five years.

“Things have definitely slowed down a lot, it’s kind of hard to keep being productive,” Hurst said. She said with the state things are in, she’s worried about job security.

Hurst had picked up another job but after working only two weeks, she was told her job would potentially close due to the virus.

“I needed some extra money,” Hurst said. “And now with the Bookstore’s status, I’m a little bit worried.”

Across campus, the Ekstrom Starbucks has noticed a similar drop in traffic. Senior shift manager Davy Adams said they are getting a fair amount of customers in a given hour.

“It depends on the day too,” they said.

Policy changes because of the virus are also evident across U of L’s campus. Restaurants have removed all dine-in seating encouraging customers to continue practicing social distancing. Cleaning has also had an overhaul.

“We have to wipe down all surfaces every 20 minutes. Anything that we are touching with our hands we have to wipe down,” Adams said. They wish though that face masks could be provided for extra precaution. “A few people that work for Campus Dining have them, but they bring them from home,” Adams said.

Adams admitted they don’t feel particularly safe being back, even despite the lack of students. This was a common sentiment among many of the remaining student workers.

“I’m here because I have to make money,” they said. “I don’t want to say that I’m petrified to work here, I feel like we’re doing the best we can do. But as a working class person, what are you gonna do? You gotta work, you gotta make money.”

Even with the closures, and students being told March 18 to leave campus housing, there were still some resources available for students.

Kathy Meyer, assistant director of student leadership, said the Cardinal Cupboard, U of L’s first food pantry, will remain open during the campus closure as long as the SAC remains open. The pantry can be found in room W314.

“In the event that the Cardinal Cupboard must close, we recommend those in need of food search the Dare to Care distribution webpage for a list of mobile pantries and stationary pantries,” Meyer said.

Meyer also suggested students finding themselves in financial emergencies during this time apply for the Louis and Louise W. Wisser Bornwasser Emergency Fund. The fund’s goal is to “assist University of Louisville students who encounter an unforeseen emergency or catastrophic event,” said the Dean of Student’s website.

Photo by Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

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