One year later: Advice you would give to your 2020 self Tuesday, Mar 23 2021 

By Zachary Baker–

One of the last days of normalcy that we had before everything went downhill and the pandemic started to change how we went along with our lives happened one year and a week ago, on March 14, 2020. 

As we reach the one-year mark of this pandemic, we face many questions: When will I get the vaccine? Will we return to normal by the end of the year?  

However, another question that we may have been faced with is: What if I could go back and change how I behaved this last year, what advice would I give myself?

“I’d tell myself last year to stop caring about the inconveniences and distractions of life and focus on what really matters. Friends and family,” said Alex Reynolds, a freshman political science major.

There are few things that most of us would likely tell ourselves a year ago: buy up toilet paper while you can, stay away from crowds and keep your family safe, and perhaps even invest within GameStop stock while you have the chance. 

“Honestly, I wish I had bought more Bitcoin,” said Chance Peterson, a senior political science major.

However, others would tell themselves that they should have been more productive and that they should find ways to keep on track with their objectives and schoolwork. 

And while others were getting into shape and improving themselves significantly as a way to hold back the cabin fever, I was preoccupied with writing and publishing my own book.

That leads me to the major piece of advice that I would give to my past self, I would tell myself to focus on getting healthy. It may not be the easiest objective, but while the rest of the world is falling apart around you, the thing that can help you feel in control could be getting a hold over your body and your mind.

It may not be the most fruitful to regret what could have been over the past year, however, it is not like we can go back and change the past. But that is the interesting thing about regrets for me, while I can’t go back into the past, I can focus on the future and the now.

If you look back on this past year and you think to yourself, “I should have been more productive”, or in my case “I wish I had gotten healthier,” then you give yourself a goal for now. 

You may not have spent the pandemic like you wanted to, but you can always focus on not having any regrets for the future. 

With the country slowly opening back up we have a chance to be better than we were all last year. Gyms are opening back up, classes are slowly getting back to normal, and we can go out with our vaccinated friends. 

While we look back at our last year, we recognize that we could have been better, but we must understand that it is never too late to start doing better now.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Features editor reviews visiting campus food trucks Monday, Mar 1 2021 

By Tate Luckey — 

In an effort to provide more on-campus food variety, last week the University of Louisville’s Dining services brought three food trucks to campus.

A variety of food choices were provided for students who purchased a ticket worth 10 flex points. From what U of L Dining has suggested, this event was also done in part to support local businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Celtic Pig – 

Born through a passion for smoked meat and pride for Celtic ancestry, the Celtic Pig serves up everything from fish and chips and pulled pork to scotch eggs and haggis. Easily spotted by its Blarney Green and kilted truck, owner Sam Bracken desired to sell authentic, home-cooked meals to his customers.

One of the favorites among those who went was the pulled pork grilled cheese. Topped with Irish cheddar and served on Texas toast, freshman Cassidy Witt actually went back to buy another for her roommate.

“I don’t why I’m acting like I’m not going to eat half too. It’s really good,” she said.

Get it on a Bun at Booty’s –

First starting as a hot dog stand in 1996, Get it on a Bun at Booty’s is native to New Albany. Providing a variety of diner-style foods (jerk chicken, or “Booty Burgers,” anyone?), they were only present during the 10:30 a.m – 2:30 p.m. time slots. That doesn’t mean they didn’t have great food, though.

The Pulled pork sandwich they had was a fantastic choice for those looking to tear into a good piece of meat. It was juicy, well seasoned, and had just the right amount of “pull” to make it worth a ticket.

Nathan’s Taqueria 

Beatriz Mata and Carlos Gomez decided to bring their food trucks to give Louisville a taste of Mexico. Their options were 3 street tacos, nachos and a burrito. Each had an option of pork or chicken. Out of all the trucks present, this one was the busiest in the mornings.

The most popular food item from what I saw was the nachos. “The pork to me was what made it. It was pretty good. They put lots of tomatoes,” freshman Alex Reynolds described.

Photos by Tate Luckey and Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L exploring the idea of an outdoor commencement for May 2021 Friday, Feb 26 2021 

By Madelin Shelton —

The University of Louisville is exploring the possibility of holding an outdoor, in-person commencement ceremonies May 7 through May 9 at Cardinal Stadium.

May 2021 graduates and 2020 graduates would be invited to attend, as the 2020 commencement ceremonies were cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Michael Mardis, U of L dean of students and vice provost for student affairs, detailed the university’s desire to consider this option.

“We wanted to have commencement all along. We’ve done surveying and talked with a lot of different students and gotten feedback through SGA representation,” Mardis said. “Having it outdoors would be safer than having it indoors and it would be a bigger venue. Safety is our number one concern, but we have this strong desire to have an in-person ceremony because we know that that’s what students want.”

Stephanie Reibert, U of L’s commencement coordinator, discussed how the university plans to abide by COVID-19 guidelines for such an event.

“We are going to follow all university, state and CDC guidelines for precautions. So, there will be physical distancing at all times amongst the graduates and the guests,” she said. “Although it’s an outdoor event masks are going to be required at all times.”

There will also be hand sanitizing stations, sanitation of the podium, and ongoing discussions of how to handle the entry of people into the stadium so that there will be fewer touch points. Further, Mardis mentioned the likelihood that tickets for the event will be electronic to reduce interactions among staff and guests.

He also stated the importance of staying responsive and flexible with the changing nature of the pandemic. The university plans to make adjustments to commencement plans as the situation changes.

For graduates, the number of guests they can bring with them will likely be restricted. The university has limited capacity on the number of people that can be present at Cardinal Stadium.

“Our goal is to allow a safe number of guests to celebrate each graduate, but that number is still to be determined based on the state of the virus and the guidelines at that time,” Reibert said. “The number of guests allowed per each graduate will also depend on how many graduates will be participating in the ceremonies, which the university is gathering numbers on now.”

The university will come to a final decision about whether to host the outdoor ceremonies, and specific details, sometime in March.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Stay home: Traveling over spring break is a risk you shouldn’t take Tuesday, Feb 23 2021 

By Zachary Baker–

It seems insane to imagine that we are nearing the one-year anniversary of when this pandemic began, for many of us it feels as if time just stopped. 

So many of us feel as though the only way that we know time is passing is because deadlines for assignments get closer and closer. It may feel like we all need a vacation, a trip to the beach, or to Las Vegas for a night on the town. It may be tempting with classes online and spring break coming up soon. 

But don’t fall to temptation. Rather, stay strong, stay home and stay safe over the next couple of months.

According to data reported by The New York Times, the 7-day average for new cases of COVID-19 within Jefferson County have been declining since early January.

In February, the rate of new cases dipped below 1,000 on 3 separate days. For a brief period, Jefferson County was considered an “orange county” as the incidence rate dropped to less than 25 cases per 100,000 individuals.

At the time of this article’s publication Jefferson County is back to being a red county.

With vaccinations coming, and many people that we know already receiving them, it may seem as if this is almost all over and we can return to normal. However, being near the end doesn’t mean that the threat of the pandemic is over yet. 

“The benefits of travel simply aren’t worth the risks, yet,” said Scott LaJoie, an associate professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at U of L. “By spring break, too few people will be fully vaccinated, there are new strains of SARS-COV-2 trying to get established, and we could end up giving the pandemic new life if we stop doing what we know works.” 

The threat that a new strain could go around before we are ready to stop our current one is very real, and it is a situation that we see happening in other parts of the world. 

At the same time, you want to go out and do something fun to get away from the same old routine you find yourself caught in. But you do not have to travel in order to get away from our routines. You can find fun at home under current protections. 

One option is to travel to one of the nature trails or parks within the county and get a breath of fresh air and exercise. Another is to have small get-togethers with friends on Zoom for some much-needed social time. 

“With mass vaccinations underway, the end of the pandemic is finally coming into view. We have the tools to keep ourselves and others safe. It is up to us not to stumble at the finish line,” said Ryan Combs, an assistant U of L professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences.

We are close to winning against this disease, and while it may be awhile before things feel normal again, we shouldn’t risk our lives and the lives of others for an attempt to get away from it all. 

Stay home, stay in Louisville, stay safe and let’s beat this thing.

Graphic by Andrew Campbell // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Valentine’s Day looks a little bit different for singles this year Sunday, Feb 14 2021 

By Riley Vance–

As the first Valentine’s Day of the pandemic approaches, many single students may feel relief that they won’t be the only ones at home by themselves this year. 

For some, Valentine’s Day is full of chocolate, flowers, and cards from their loved ones. For others, it’s a dreadful day that comes once a year and couldn’t pass by faster. 

The anxiety or fear of missing out (FOMO) on fun events is a real phenomenon that most people have probably experienced from time to time—especially college students. 

Lalin Anik, assistant professor of business administration at the University of Virginia, analyzed the ways in which FOMO has continued through the pandemic.

“We wanted to see what might happen to FOMO during this time of COVID-19, when people are stuck at home, largely unable to travel, attend large gatherings or do many of the things we would normally do for fun.

“FOMO in the pandemic stems from the difficulty of catching up with all of the things being offered online, far more than we can be a part of or watch all at once,” said Anik.

In the pandemic, this means missing out on social gatherings via Zoom, conversations over social media or other online activities that might only be available for a short time.

This feeling of missing out can definitely be stronger on Valentine’s Day if you’re sitting at home binge-watching rom-coms like a hopeless romantic while simultaneously scrolling past couples posting pictures of their significant others sitting across the table from them at a fancy restaurant. 

This year, however, is a completely different scenario. 

Yes, there will still be a million Boomerangs of people clinking their glasses of wine or champagne together to celebrate their everlasting love for each other. 

There will also be a number of people laying low this year as well, which some people may find comfort in. 

Abby Ebersold, a senior communications major, is spending her night doing just that. 

“I’m just spending my Valentine’s Day at home with my roommates. We’re going to watch movies, make dinner, and bake a fun dessert. There’s definitely no shame in having a low-key Valentine’s Day especially during the pandemic,” said Ebersold.

We all fall prey to blaming the pandemic for being lazy, unproductive, or anti-social. Now, you can blame the pandemic for spending your Valentine’s Day by yourself. You don’t even have to feel bad about it, because you’re technically doing what you’re supposed to be doing. You’re kind of saving lives.

So, this year for Valentine’s Day, order takeout from your favorite restaurant, watch your favorite movies, buy yourself some chocolate and flowers, and have an awesome night in by yourself. Take pride in knowing that you’re not contributing to the widespread transmission of the coronavirus.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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Online classes are not worth full tuition Friday, Feb 12 2021 

By Catherine Brown–

Online classes may be convenient for many of us, but it doesn’t provide students with the same educational experiences as in-person classes. To charge the same tuition for hybrid and remote classes is ridiculous.

“I definitely think the cost of online classes seems expensive. And you know, it used to be they charged more for online courses, which is crazy,” said Liam Spencer, a senior computer information systems major. “I actually like online classes for the most part. It is very convenient for me, so overall it has worked pretty well for me. But I can definitely see how some students would prefer in person and benefit from that more.”

According to a recent article in the New York Times, students at Columbia University have gone on a protest against the university’s tuition policy for the spring semester. Students disagree with the school charging regular tuition rates–including additional housing and dining fees–when classes are mostly online. Students have asked for a minimum of 10 percent reduction in total fees.

In July 2020, The Louisville Cardinal reported that U of L would raise tuition rates by 2 percent to makeup for negative budget impacts.

So not only are U of L students not receiving any tuition remission, they are being asked to pay more than they were in the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Since the pandemic started, businesses across the country have closed, including companies that U of L students work at. Not all students can continue to earn income and pay off tuition like they might have before COVID-19.

The university recommends students check in with the Student Financial Aid Office (SFAO) if they need assistance with tuition. The SFAO offers certain scholarships and loans for eligible students. But some students say that’s not enough.

“We aren’t using the classrooms as much, the library has been out of commission for a while now, we can’t enjoy the amenities that are included in the tuition. There are online schools whose tuition costs less for these reasons, so it doesn’t make sense as to how Louisville can justify why they aren’t lowering their tuition to match those online schools,” said Lindsey Wright, a senior studying communications.

When classes are remote, students don’t get the same valuable face-to-face interactions with classmates. This makes it hard to make connections with peers or network with professors.

Networking with others is important for students about to enter the job market.

Debra Feldman, a member of Columbia’s Career Coaches Network, said that whenever you aren’t actively networking, “you are missing out on opportunities and actually making it easier for competitors to grab the position that could be yours.”

But online classes hinder students from meeting their professors in the traditional way, which means professors probably won’t get the chance to communicate as closely with students. That could hurt your chances of having professors be references for future jobs and careers.

It’s not fair for any school to ask students to pay the same rates as they charged for the last academic year.

And as a U of L student, you shouldn’t have to tolerate it, either.

Graphic by Andrew Campbell // The Louisville Cardinal

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Get creative this Valentine’s Day with COVID friendly date ideas Friday, Feb 12 2021 

By Grace Welsh —

Valentine’s Day may feel daunting as it creeps around the corner. While it may seem like your options are limited this year, there are plenty of ways to show your special someone that you care. Whether you decide to spend the special holiday with a friend, significant other, or yourself, here are some ways you can safely celebrate.

Plug-In

Fortunately, we live in a day and age where technology allows us to connect with others in ways that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.

If you and your loved one are celebrating from a distance, consider using FaceTime or Zoom to spend the day together.

You could both cook the same meal from your separate homes and enjoy them together over FaceTime. You could also watch a movie together using a site like Teleparty that allows you to stream at the same time while still being able to talk to one another.

Another great way to show someone you care (from a distance) is to mail them a love letter. It sounds cheesy, but who doesn’t love receiving a handwritten token of appreciation? If words aren’t your strong suit, show your love by curating a playlist full of special songs that they might enjoy.

Stay home together

If you play your cards right, sometimes at-home dates are the most special. Hosting together time in the comfort of your home can take the pressure off of a traditional “going-out” date and allows you to get more intimate with your partner or loved one.

You could set the mood with some lovey-dovey music, crack open a bottle of wine, and enjoy a fancy candlelit dinner. Or, watch your favorite movie and cuddle on the couch.

If you and your person are feeling creative, challenge each other in a bake-off. Or, bring out some canvases and follow along to a Bob Ross video. You could also write each other corny notes, or play a get to know you game like the “36 Questions That Lead to Love”.

If you’re fiending for physical closeness, bust out the rose petals, dim the lights, and have yourselves a romantic bath; this is a great way to show yourself love, too.

If you live with roommates or family and want a night alone with your partner, consider getting an Airbnb for the night and using it as your sacred hideaway.

Get out

There are plenty of ways to go out together while still being mindful of COVID-19 guidelines.

If you’re feeling outdoorsy, you and your loved one can go on a peaceful hike at a local park such as Jefferson Memorial Forest or Iroquois Park. Learn to mushroom hunt, take photos, or just mindfully enjoy the scenery together.

When it’s dark out, consider going to a safe, remote location and watching the stars together. Get a stargazing app, such as SkyView Lite, bundle up on a blanket and point out the most vivid constellations you see.

Many museums, such as the Speed Art Museum, which is free for U of L students, are taking necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so booking a couple of tickets to view some art may not be a bad idea. Mask up and head to the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge afterward to get a pretty glimpse of the city.

However you decide to spend your Valentine’s Day, be present. Being able to put aside other priorities to celebrate this day of love is a beautiful gift. If you don’t have a partner, then treat yourself to these activities or do them with a friend. Remember, Valentine’s Day is about love, and there are many different types of love!

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal 

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U of L basketball’s head coach tests positive for COVID, U of L vs Pittsburgh postponed Tuesday, Feb 9 2021 

By Joseph Garcia —

Tomorrow’s men’s basketball game against Pittsburgh has been postponed following additional positive tests for COVID-19 within the program, including head coach Chris Mack. In a press release, the University of Louisville said the postponement also comes following subsequent quarantining and contact tracing within the men’s basketball program.

The athletics department reported that Mack is experiencing mild symptoms and is communicating with team members and staff virtually while he quarantines.

Mack will be absent at Louisville’s match against Virginia Tech on Feb. 13, however assistant coach Dino Gaudio will take his place during practice this week and Saturday’s game.

Kenny Klein, spokesman for U of L athletics, said that last week the athletics department conducted more than 1,100 tests, four of which were positive. Since testing began in June of 2020, the department has reported 235 positive tests.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Ekstrom library will no longer require U of L IDs for entrance and will monitor for masks Thursday, Feb 4 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville announced on Jan. 29 that Ekstrom library staff will begin monitoring the library to enforce the mask mandate. This comes after a meeting between U of L’s student government association and Ekstrom library staff to discuss mask enforcement and the requirement to show a student ID in order to enter the library.

“We appreciate that most of the Cardinal Family has followed our public health policies around wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and practicing good personal hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus,” Provost Beth Boehm and Dean of Students Michael Mardis said in their statement.

“However, some people are beginning to ignore these policies.  This has become a significant issue in some of our large public spaces, particularly Ekstrom Library. ”

Patrons of the library who refuse to follow the mask mandate, after being reminded by a staff member, will be asked to leave and could face consequences from the Dean of Students Office.

SGA President Sabrina Collins said that the SGA brought up the need for this policy in a meeting with U of L administrators as well as in an SGA senate meeting that was attended by Ekstrom Library Dean Bob Fox and Associate Dean Bruse Keisling.

“This practice has proven necessary because of the widespread lack of masking in the library despite other efforts to encourage compliance,” Collins said.

SGA also came to an agreement with library staff about issues with the library’s policy to require a student ID for entry.

“The practice of checking cardinal cards at the library was being done in an effort to de-densify the library and ensure that our students were the ones utilizing the space,” Collins said. “Additionally, administration hoped that having a checkpoint at the door would ensure people were reminded to wear their mask if they tried to enter the space without one. In practice, we know that this did not have the intended impact and, in fact, created a hostile environment for students of color.”

SGA announced in a statement on social media on Jan. 22 that this policy would no longer apply, but a security guard will continue to be stationed at the entrance to Ekstrom.

SGA urges students who have any issues or concerns with this situation to reach out to them at sgacares@uoflsga.org.

Photo by Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

 

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Speed Art Museum features new exhibits for Spring 2021 Thursday, Feb 4 2021 

By Maria Dinh —

The Speed Art Museum is now open during its regular hours. Visitors must wear a face mask and practice social distancing. As always, University of Louisville students can go in for free by showing their cardinal card. Here’s what’s coming up at the Speed in these next couple of months:

Featured Exhibits

The Speed Art Museum said goodbye to the Andy Warhol: Revelation exhibit last November to make way for their next featured exhibit: Collecting – A Love Story: Glass from the Adele and Leonard Leight Collection. Coming February 6th, 2021, Leight’s art collection will contain many contemporary glasswork pieces that the couple had collected during their marriage.

From February 19 – August 22, a fashion exhibit inspired by early works of 18th and 19th-century art will be coming to the Speed, titled “Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper.” Look closely to observe the intricacies and details of the painted paper dresses.

“I am really enthralled by the artist’s use of color, so I’ve found myself drawn to the Mariano Fortuny dresses she has recreated – there are beautiful, unusual color combinations that are so inspiring,” Erika Holquist-Wall, curator of European & American Painting & Sculpture, said about the exhibit.

“I think visitors are going to leave this exhibition inspired by possibility – whether that is the inspiration to create their own artwork, play with paper, or just take a closer look at the artwork in the rest of the museum and appreciate the effort and creativity it requires to make something.”

Speed Online

Visitors can still have a quick “scroll” around the Speed from home with Museum from Home on their website for free. For the inner child that misses going downstairs at the Speed to play at the Art Sparks room, the website has downloadable .pdfs of coloring pages, crafts, and games to play at home.

Freshman Eleanor Ferguson has already visited the museum in person. She talked about how visitors are socially distant from others when viewing the art; “I’d say the majority of it [the museum] was safe, but there were a couple of rooms with too many people for me to be comfortable in, so I dragged my date out till they left. Everyone wore masks though.”

After Hours at the Speed

In a COVID-19 free world, the Speed would host a monthly event on the third Friday with performers, food and drinks and family fun. After Hours at the Speed will continue being held virtually every third Friday of the month until further notice. Check out their Facebook page to see who will perform and watch on their Facebook Live.

Photo Courtesy // Speed Art Museum 

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