raiseRED to host virtual dance marathon in February Thursday, Jan 21 2021 

By Grace Welsh —

The University of Louisville’s largest student-led philanthropic event is looking a little different this year. For the first time ever, raiseRED will be held completely virtually in order to remain within COVID-19 guidelines.

Traditionally an 18-hour dance marathon, the event will be broken up over six days throughout the week of Feb. 15. Each day’s event will consist of guest speakers and interactive events like trivia and games. The week concludes on Saturday, Feb. 20, when a closing ceremony will be held, during which, the organization will reveal of the amount of money raised.

Last year, raiseRED was able to raise over $690,000 to benefit pediatric cancer research.

raiseRED has touched the hearts of many in the last five years, raising over 3 million dollars for Norton’s Cancer Institute and U of L’s School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. raiseRED also initiates mentorship programs between students and children, which allows students to make more of a direct and long-lasting impact on the families. According to the raiseRED website, the money goes directly towards funding those departments and the families in need.

“raiseRED, in my opinion, is the single most important organization tied to U of L,” said Team Leader Manu Nair. Nair is one of the hundreds of U of L students who have been working for the past year to ensure successful fundraising this year.

“Unless you have personally gone through this struggle, people don’t know how hard it can be to watch your child battle cancer,” Nair said. “We are fighting for them as they already have an immense battle to fight themselves.”

Ashley Correl, is a freshman who is participating in the event for the first time. “I can already feel that everyone is so excited to get involved. It inspires so many others to join in on raising money,” she said.

raiseRED participants can still join on behalf of an organization (such as athletics, the Indian Student Association, Porter Scholars, ELSB, Greek life) or they can join on an individual basis.

Students who raise $200 by Feb. 15 will be paired with a team of other dancers and given the opportunity to participate in interactive events. Fundraising requires a bit of creativity, with many members doing things like social media games and clothing/bake sales.

While being virtual may hinder some interpersonal connections, raiseRED is about helping those in need, Ruby Young, raiseRed’s student outreach coordinator, said.

“I think this year more than ever, people will realize how much help these kids and their families need. COVID-19 impacted them in ways we could never imagine.”

For more information on how you can make a difference, visit the raiseRED Facebook page or their Instagram.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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The pandemic isn’t over. Please stop going out to bars and restaurants Wednesday, Jan 20 2021 

By Riley Vance–

Young people—college students, in particular—have received a bad reputation regarding their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This reputation didn’t come unearned, however. College students need to exhibit more maturity and stay in to protect the people around them while the world battles this pandemic.

As vaccines are rolling out across the U.S., we are nearing a hopeful close to the chapter that is the COVID-19 pandemic. While this is great news, it seems that it couldn’t come sooner with recent chatter about students heading out to bars despite the pandemic. 

Last week, Student Body President Sabrina Collins posted pictures outside of the Granville Pub, a sports bar located on S. 3rd Street. The Jan. 14 pictures show students neither social distancing or wearing masks waiting to enter the bar were uploaded on Twitter. These pictures sparked a trend of calling people out and holding members of the U of L community responsible. 

“I cannot overemphasize how important it is for students to continue to take this pandemic seriously and socialize safely,” said Collins. “We know that going to bars and seeing large crowds of people are unnecessarily dangerous behavior. Just because we can see the light at the end of the tunnel (i.e., vaccines) doesn’t mean we can act like it’s already here. The fact of the matter is that people are dying of COVID every day and going to bars just isn’t worth it.” 

According to the U of L COVID-19 Dashboard, the university experienced a peak in cases in December with a 4.54% positivity rate—the second highest positivity rate since U of L started offering testing for students in August 2020. This number will more than likely only continue to rise as students return to campus after the break. 

Not only is the positivity rate for U of L increasing, but the positivity rate for Kentucky is a whopping 11.74% according to the Department of Public Health and Wellness. 

The data provided by the DPHW also shows that 18.4% of cases in Kentucky are seen in people between the ages of 20-29. This means that 20-29 year olds represent nearly 1 in 5 COVID-19 cases, making them the age group with the highest rate of  cases in the state

If the pictures on social media of college students going out are not enough, this data should be very telling of what is truly going on. The university and U of L community need to hold students that are making reckless and irresponsible decisions more accountable. It is not cool to put the lives of others at risk.

Photo by Anthony Riley//The Louisville Cardinal

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BRIEF: Enrollment this spring fell slightly compared to last fall Tuesday, Jan 19 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville’s overall enrollment is up by 3.2% since Spring 2020 despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

However, undergraduate and professional school enrollment are both down after U of L saw an all-time high in enrollment last semester of more than 23,000 students.

18,920 students across undergraduate, graduate and professional programs enrolled at U of L this semester. 410 of those students were new students and 476 were transfer students. 12,785 undergraduate, 4,596 graduate students, 1,449 professional school students enrolled in classes for the spring 2021 semester.

Most undergraduate students enrolled in a mix of online, hybrid and face-to-face classes this semester, with 72%  of students falling into this category.

23% of students are only enrolled in online classes, whereas 3% of students are enrolled in hybrid classes and only 1% of students are enrolled in only face-to-face classes.

There was also a large increase in dual credit and visiting high school enrollment, which was up 36.4% from spring 2021.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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What to expect for Spring 2021 Monday, Jan 18 2021 

By Aaliyah Bryant —

The University of Louisville is starting out the new year with classes resuming but still with COVID-19 limitations. However, these limitations haven’t stopped many events from happening last semester so, we can assume the same won’t happen this semester.

This year, students are still looking forward to raiseRED, rush week, and plenty of U of L events. Whether they are in-person, socially distanced with masks or virtual meetings, students are ready for the events coming their way. So without further ado, let’s introduce the events that are still going on this semester.

First things first, raiseRED. RaiseRED is an 18-hour dance marathon to raise awareness for the children, families, and doctors fighting pediatric cancer and blood disorders. The organization raises money for a fundraiser and donates 50% of those funds to the U of L School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics’ Division of Hematology and Oncology and the other 50% to the Norton Children’s Cancer Institute affiliated with the U of L School of Medicine. The annual event might happen a bit differently this year due to Covid-19. It is unclear how they would do this event without violating the Covid-19 limitations, but raiseRED is still fundraising the money just fine according to their donor wall.

Every semester there is a fraternity and sorority rush week. Pre-rush events for the pledging of 2021 have been happening since December 2020 and ended on January 17th. These events gave you an option to rush in-person or virtually. Recruitment will be on January 18-20. The chapters will be hosted virtually from Microsoft Teams from 6-9 pm. Students are welcome to attend as many or as
few of the chapters as they please. On January 21, there will be a bid card signing where students will choose their chapter and meet other students from their class.

Last year when COVID-19 was starting to spread, sports events were canceled. One of these events was the NCAA March Madness Tournament. Fans and students were really upset by this, especially since the Louisville Cardinals were having a great season last year. They had a record of 24-7 and were number 2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. This year, they are number 3 in the ACC with a record of 9-2 so far. The NCAA Tournament has no plans of canceling; however, they are reducing the traveling. This means the entirety of the tournament will be held in Indianapolis.

Despite COVID, plenty of events will be held here at U of L with the right safety precautions, including virtual meetings or requiring masks/being socially distant. The following events going on are faculty administered: COVID-19 vaccination, Creative Writing Group, Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, and many more.

Everyone is patiently waiting for things to return to normal; however, with the right precautions, students will be able to do the things they love and continue to go on through the pandemic.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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The Louisville Cardinal launches new interview series with campus leaders Thursday, Jan 14 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville’s student newspaper, The Louisville Cardinal, kicked off its “Louisville Cardinal Conversations” series Wednesday with U of L President Neeli Bendapudi and Cardinal Editor-in-Chief Joseph Garcia. The series will consist of live interviews by the Cardinal’s student editors with high profile individuals on the university’s campus.

Garcia and Bendapudi talked about a range of university issues over Facebook Live including the university’s anti-racist agenda, the NCAA allegations, the A&S Dean Search, COVID-19 and tuition.

When discussing the university’s anti-racism initiative, Bendapudi detailed what anti-racism is and what it looked like in practice.

“Anti-racism is the premise that nobody is superior or inferior to another person just because of the color of their skin,” she said, “One way for us to think about being anti-racist is doing everything we can to allow each person to succeed.” Bendapudi went on to convey the importance of investing in and fostering equity to ensure the success of everyone.

In relation to COVID-19, Bendapudi expressed her praise of the tenacity of U of L students during the pandemic. “All of you as students, I am so appreciative of all of you and I am so grateful for the resiliency you’re showing,” she said.

Bendapudi then relayed that by the end of next week every healthcare worker in the U of L system will have been given the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. She also said that, with authorization, the university hopes to give every faculty member, staff member and student the opportunity to receive the vaccine by the end of the semester. However, U of L is not legally allowed to require the vaccine since it was given provisional emergency use.

Garcia also asked Bendapudi whether students should expect another tuition hike in the upcoming academic year. She was not able to give a definitive answer but pointed to the competitiveness of U of L as compared to other state institutions in terms of student debt. According to her, U of L students have the lowest college debt as compared to students from every other public university in the state of Kentucky. She mentioned that any rise in tuition would be offset by trying to develop more need-based aid.

The recording of the full interview can be found here. Be sure to follow The Louisville Cardinal on social media @TheCardinalNews to be informed of the next “Louisville Cardinal Conversations” interview.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L received funding for development of a preventative COVID-19 treatment Thursday, Jan 14 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville received $8.5 million in December for funding the development and testing of a nasal spray using a compound that has shown success in inhibiting the virus that causes COVID-19, also known as SARS-CoV-2.  The funding will be provided by the Department of Defense and will allow researchers to create the nasal spray and complete the phase one clinical trial.

The project makes use of a protein known as Q-Griffithsin, which was developed and co-owned by U of L. The protein was originally discover in red algae, but it can be easily replicated in tobacco plants, which are more accessible in Kentucky. The protein was initially being looked at as a treatment for HIV but had shown activity against past coronaviruses.

“HIV has been the big focus in the development of the project so far, and we have a clinical trial on going for that aspect. But when CoV-2 started we began looking at if we would have activity against CoV-2 as well,” said Joshua Fuqua, an instructor and researcher for U of L’s Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology who will be managing the project.

“Because we had activity against other coronaviruses in the past and the regional biocontainment lab had access to SARS-CoV-2. So we gave them some of that drug and they were able to test it relatively quickly and give us some understanding that it had activity [against SARS-CoV-2.]”

The product they are developing is designed to be taken daily or every other day through the nose to help prevent contracting COVID-19. The treatment would act as a protective coating in the sinuses, which is where the body first comes in contact with the virus. The protein would then inhibit the virus and keep it from multiplying and infecting the rest of the body.

Even though the Phizer and Moderna vaccines are now available, this treatment can still offer unique benefits, such as broader activity than the vaccines and the potential to help individuals who can’t get the vaccine.

“If you have viral mutations, or things like that, we are most likely going to have activity still. A virus can mutate where a vaccine is no longer effective, but we can have broader activity,” Fuqua said. He believes that the vaccines that are coming out now are great vaccines and will be useful in fighting this virus, but they are also very specific to SARS-CoV-2, in a way that this treatment might not be since it has shown activity in past coronaviruses.

Fuqua also said that this treatment could help fill in some of the gaps, by reaching people who can’t get a vaccine.  “Vaccines rely on your immune system and so if you are immunocompromised, if you are elderly, if you have issues where you’re immune system doesn’t emit the appropriate response, if you’re allergic to the components of the vaccine, or things like that this is something that can work for you that doesn’t rely on your immune system for the response. It is just completely drug and virus interaction.”

The timeline for this treatment is still uncertain, so Fuqua doesn’t know when it might be available for the public if it is shown to be safe and effective in the clinical trials. The funding from the DoD will allow for the first phase of the clinical trials to take place in 2021 and Fuqua says they will apply for approval from the Food and Drug Administration once they get to that point.

File Photo //The Louisville Cardinal

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COVID could have been over by now if we held ourselves accountable Wednesday, Jan 13 2021 

Catherine Brown–

In just a few weeks, it’ll mark the one year anniversary since the WHO declared COVID-19 a global health emergency and only a few months out from being declared a pandemic. If we took collective responsibility to be safe, we probably could’ve ended this months ago.

It’s safe to say that when the pandemic started, nobody had a clue that it would last as long as it has. As we approach the ‘1 year’ mark, maybe we should reflect on what we could’ve done right to prevent this.

First, lack of mask wearing. Unfortunately, wearing masks has become a political hot topic since they were first mandated in public places. 

Patrick Van Kessel and Dennis Quinn, researchers for the Pew Research Center, found that Democrats and Republicans have been divided on masks for different reasons.

For Democrats, the major drawbacks for mask-wearing included the concern that other people were not wearing their masks. 

For Republicans, the concern is that they’re unnecessary and don’t actually work.

Political skepticism alone has created so much of a divide on handling COVID-19.

U of L requires that students wear masks on campus and in public spaces. 

But that also leaves certain areas on campus susceptible to spread coronavirus. Dining areas, the library and housing are all at risk for spreading the virus as students often take their masks off in indoor areas, often within close proximity. 

And it’s no secret by now that there have been parties held near campus resulting in multiple positive cases

Traveling has also been a huge issue. Within the last year there have been several major holidays in which traveling is common, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Many U of L students have taken advantage of the university’s holiday breaks. While the main campus hasn’t been nearly as crowded in the last semester, many students are, in fact, coming back to campus after traveling. We see that after these breaks, there are always spikes in COVID-19 cases that appear on the university’s testing dashboard.

During these breaks, vacation hotspots like Florida or South Carolina were still busy with tourists. 

Those that continue to travel for leisure or other non-business reasons are blatantly disregarding the suggestions of numerous state governors. 

Because of this, the virus has reached so many more people and now we all have to face the consequences by continuing to quarantine, work through online classes and follow strict guidelines in public as well as within the university.

In the meantime, if you plan to return to campus at any point during the semester, particularly after recently after winter break, you need to get a COVID-19 test.

We could’ve slowed the spread of coronavirus months ago if we’d all done our part and enforced the safety precautions like wearing a mask, keeping socially distant and not traveling unless absolutely necessary. If you’ve traveled anywhere with a high volume of COVID-19 cases, please be responsible and do not return to campus until you have quarantined and been tested. 

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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COVID-19: Here’s what students can expect next semester Thursday, Dec 17 2020 

By Joseph Garcia — 

With COVID-19 showing no signs of slowing down, U of L has already begun looking ahead to the spring semester and has updated its COVID guidelines.

Here’s what students can expect over winter break and next spring:

Winter Break COVID-19 Testing Schedule:

Bluewater Diagnostics Lab, the organization that conducted U of L’s COVID tests in the fall, will continue providing tests to university members on campus over Winter Break.

These tests are for asymptomatic individuals only and begin Dec. 21 through Dec. 23. Another round of testing will occur at the end of the month, from the 28th until the 30th. You can schedule an appointment here.

Individuals already experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should contact one of the Campus Health locations for a free rapid test.

Spring 2021 COVID-19 Testing Schedule:

Free testing will continue once the semester starts and run throughout the spring during various testing periods.

“The first required testing period will be Jan. 4 through Jan. 15,” U of L’s Coordinating Committee told students in an email outlining the updated COVID guidelines. The committee includes University Provost Beth Boehm, Dean of Students Michael Mardis and Executive Director of Campus Health Services Phillip Bressoud.

During this first round of testing, all students, staff and faculty who plan to return to campus are required to get tested. Prior to the start of the semester, the university is also asking that people returning to campus quarantine for 10 days prior to their return.

There will be three other mandatory testing periods during the semester: Feb. 819, March 819 and Apr1223.

At this time more information regarding the times and locations for testing has not been released.

COVID-19 and Flu Vaccines:

The Coordinating Committee also shared news on the newly developed COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech.

According to U of L’s “COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ,” Kentucky is expected to receive 30,000 doses in its initial shipment from the federal government.

The committee said that once U of L receives the vaccine, it will be distributed in two phases.

Phase One includes vaccinations for U of L Health’s front-line workers and U of L front-line employees such as clinical faculty, residents and fellows. The university said in its FAQ that once more doses become available, “employees who go into our affiliated health care facilities” will receive the vaccine, “followed by our students in clinical programs such as medicine, dentistry and nursing.”

Phase Two will include teachers and childcare workers, essential workers, those with underlying conditions that put them at moderate risk, individuals over 65 years of age, and anyone in congregate housing/dorms.

Once the vaccine becomes available however, U of L said that it will not be required for students, faculty or staff. The university does, “highly encourage” campus individuals to receive the vaccination.

Currently, there is no information on how or where students will be able to receive the vaccine. U of L did say that Campus Health is preparing a voluntary vaccination program plan for the campus. They plan to release more information once the vaccine becomes available to the university.

Graphic by Andrew Campbell // The Louisville Cardinal

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Don’t bring COVID-19 into the new year, stay safe this holiday season Friday, Dec 4 2020 

By Zachary Baker–

With classes ending and finals being the main focus of every student before completely shutting down for the winter break, we have to reflect on how much we have overcome this year. We’ve overcome the pandemic suddenly changing our spring semester, the lockdowns over the summer and a tumultuous virtual semester. 

Many of us are looking forward to forgetting about academia for the next couple of weeks and to spending time with family and friends. However, despite our desires for a relaxing winter break, we must remember to stay safe and be smart.

For many students the Thanksgiving break was likely a little rough. Many of us still have work to get done, others are out of a job due to the new mandates by Governor Beshear, and likely all of us long for some time with those closest to us. 

But the reality is, COVID-19 still separates us. Despite our yearlong stress and our desire to finally take a break from it all, we have to make sure that we respect our distance around family. 

To do this, stick to small gatherings, make sure to avoid family if you are sick and go remote if you can. 

We have to remember that the holiday season is about joy, appreciation of loved ones and the celebration of each other. None of us want to lose loved ones to COVID-19. Many Americans have already lost someone that they had at the beginning of the year. COVID-19 is preventable.

Spending one Christmas limiting gatherings or going online will not kill the holiday season, but it will prevent COVID-19 from killing someone you love. 

During this tough time, we have to remember to love each other and protect those we care about without endangering them. 

With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s all within weeks of each other, this will be a deciding time for the start of the 2021 new year. We all really want the next year to be better than this one was. 

Stay safe, healthy and enjoy yourselves for the winter season.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L students prepare for finals week amid pandemic Wednesday, Dec 2 2020 

By Nick Mattingly —

Finals week is here at the University of Louisville during a time of uncertainty and social distancing. COVID-19 has placed an immense amount of pressure and stress on students, professors and staff at the university. Hybrid classes have made up most of the semester this fall, and as finals week approaches, the university is shutdown.

This state-wide shutdown reduces resources available to students to help them study for their finals.

“I think that this lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time,” said U of L sophomore Justin Roberts. “I have never felt the amount of stress I do now, especially with finals around the corner.”

As a sophomore, Roberts has seen how a normal semester functions, and he says that this semester is far from normal.

“All of the university resources are shutdown due to the pandemic, and I rely on some of them to help with my studies. Resources like the University Library, REACH and the Advising Office are some of the things that have helped me every semester, and without the face-to-face access, this semester has been particularly difficult for me,” Roberts said.

However, despite the lack of access to these resources, U of L students are finding new ways to study, in part thanks to the online resources U of L provides.

“I think it’s great the university is at least trying to help students the best they can, junior Alex Gomez said. “Online class meetings aren’t as helpful as face-to-face meetings, but they are better than recorded class sessions. Also, the amount of compassion that has arisen from my professors and them being very flexible with their assignments has helped me a lot.”

U of L is doing the most to help their students in these difficult and scary times. Though not all student resources are currently available, the university is still attempting to give its best services to their students. Students themselves are connecting with others virtually and using all the available technology to pass all of their exams this semester.

“I think with campus being shutdown, many are relying on their study groups, online lecture slides and e-mailing their professors with any unanswered questions before their finals come around. These troubling times are hard on everyone, not just the students at this university,” Gomez said.

Finals week, along with an online winter graduation, are all right around the corner. As students scramble to their computers and textbooks, the university is doing all they can to help their students and gift their graduating students their diplomas with the highest amount of celebration they can give them.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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