Ohio Northern University has been working on ways to promote happiness and safety of all who returned for in person classes the Fall 2020 semester. There is a mask mandate inside not only residence halls, but academic buildings as well as when social distancing for events.
When students go into McIntosh to eat in the Dining Hall or Wow Cafe, there are markings on the floor to indicate traffic flow direction and a 6ft distance from others. Tables are set up for students to eat, with a sanitation station to keep the spaces clean.
Student Affairs even set up a tent on the tundra for in person events that can be spaced out, like Student Senate General Assemblies and President’s Club’s ONU Spirit and Ice Cream party with President DiBiasio and his wife, Chris Burns-DiBiasio. All events happening, virtual or in person, go through the Office of Student Affairs to get approval before occurring.
Senior major in Public Relations, Communications, and Philosophy Adam Koncsol, said that the tent is a “reasonable response to indoor meetings falling apart” and that it does maintain social distancing. Koncsol acknowledges that the university is in a tough spot, but is thankful to be here in person. This is not how Koncsol imagined senior year going, but “it’s a better response than other universities and making the best out of a bad situation.”
Besides new rules and regulations, there have also been some wonderful changes to the campus that make students happy. There is now a to-go window at the Northern Lights coffee shop in the library, allowing students to walk up and get their coffee with ease. Orange and Black lawn chairs have been placed around the chapel, library, and McIntosh for students to relax. Also, there are now a lot of tables with benches that are outside on the library patio so more students can study outside and distance from one another.
Sophomore Pharmacy Major Rebekah Cox went to the social as well. Rebekah said that after the ice cream social, she sat on the lawn chairs with her friend for almost “two hours just enjoying our time outside.” Rebekah said that President DiBiasio came up to them to personally gain their input on the new chairs, which made them feel like they had valuable input. Rebekah said that there isn’t a concern for other events in person on the tundra in the future, as the university is proving the new measures are in fact keeping students safe.
Although COVID-19 has brought a lot of stress, it has also opened up a voice for the student body to be heard even more than it was previously and brought some nice additions to the campus to make it better.