What's the word on Student Life?

How do students feel about ASU campus?

By Kionna Brown
On September 24, 2020

Photo by Madison Wallace:
Residential Assistant Brynn Young points out landmarks along the ASU mall for a student. ASU opened school a week earlier and intends on closing classes on Nov 24.

 

As ASU students finish their fifth week of hybrid classes on Sept. 20, questions and concerns loom over the future of the fall semester amidst a global pandemic. A survey of random students paints a diverse set of opinions about housing, classes and overall campus policies.

A student, who prefers to remain anonymous, said it has been tough to make friends at ASU. 

"I came not really knowing anyone, and it's been hard making new friends since we can't really see each other and we have to stand six feet apart," they said. "Since all of our classes are split up, it's just been really lonely for my freshman year."

While the pandemic has impacted the social lives of students, freshman Ansley Dun said she has not had any issues with the smaller class sizes as a result of COVID-19.

"School has been pretty decent, in my mind," Dun said. "Yeah, we're having problems not being able to see each other, but the smaller classes are actually better for me. It's hard for me to meet new people, so the smaller classes make me less anxious."

Tadiwa Charlie Zambezi, a sophomore, discussed the disorder he has experienced as a result of classes switching to online.

"I have never done online classes before, so there's still a little bit of getting used to it," Zambezi said. "However, ASU professors and their higher-ups need to have more clarity on due dates. I kind of have to figure out when everything is due because the teachers are trying to figure out how they are splitting their class work. It's gotten to the point where the professors are learning with the students how to do hybrid classes, and it's confusing overall."

Brynn Young, a residential assistant at Plaza Verde, spoke about how much easier classes are since March. 

"Last year, we started classes in person and then ended them online, which was brutal," Young said. "I feel like since they're starting classes online this semester, there's a format we're sticking to, and it's not subject to change like last semester. It's a lot easier than last semester."

Young and other students described their uncertainty coming back to school for the fall semester, a time when other schools are switching to online classes. Many were faced with the challenge of taking online classes at home or finding an incentive for coming back on campus. 

"I did consider not coming back on campus," Young said. "I was very relieved to be getting the RA position...if it wasn't for the RA position, I would have stayed home because I was afraid all the classes were going to be online anyways. Depending on how COVID plays out, I want to stay during the summer and take summer classes and take advantage of free room and board."

Nicholas Montez, a student living in Plaza Verde, thinks ASU is taking the necessary precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, he said the wellness checks are not a way to verify if people are sick.

"I respect the fact that they're trying as hard as they can by making sure people are wearing their masks and being safe, but after school hours, there's no way that faculty members can mandate what people are doing," Montez said. "Students go to their dorm and take off their mask or go to parties without their masks, so people are going to get sick regardless. People on campus now take their masks off after class or walk around with their mask down, wrapped around their neck or just below their nose."

Montez said he is doubtful the campus will reopen for the spring semester with concerns circling about students playing sports.

“I can almost guarantee school is going to shut down. It’s ridiculous that faculty is even mentioning moving the high contact sports, like football, to Spring,” Montez said. “Although, I do understand that some students come here on athletic scholarships. If ASU were to close down again during the Spring semester, it wouldn’t be fair to strip the athletes of their scholarships because this wasn’t anything they could have prevented,” he said.

Jordan Nelson, a resident in Vanderventer Apartments, returned to campus with expectations regarding new COVID-19 policies.  

"I think school has been exactly what I thought it was going to be," Nelson said. "A bunch of new nonsense with COVID and teachers enforcing the mask rule even though most of them don't wear a mask outside of class."

Nelson also discussed the conditions of his residence hall. "I wish they took better care of Vanderventer," he said. "Coming from Plaza and then going to Vanderventer, nothing was as I expected. Vanderventer has a weird smell and a population of roaches every now and then."

Thaddeus Herrin, a computer science major who also lives in Vanderventer Apartments never left campus and got to experience the effect of COVID-19 on campus firsthand.

“Starting back in March, everyone started leaving because of Covid,” Herrin said. “Once the school started shutting campus down, the only thing that remained open was the Caf for meals and the University Center for other services.”

As previously reported by the Ram Page in April, a majority of the students living in campus housing left after they were asked to return home and continue the semester virtually.

“When everyone left, there was nothing to do on campus; you just stayed in your room the whole time doing nothing,” Herrin said. “During July, the gym opened back up, but it was only the weight room. You still had to wear your mask in the gym, which sucks when you’re working out because you can barely breathe.” 

Much to Herrin's surprise, students started returning on campus.

“And then Fall happened. A bunch of people came on campus which was unexpected; I thought only 50 people would be here, but no, there’s like thousands again. All the food places started opening back up again, and I’m just glad that the school is getting back to some sort of normal.”

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