Living on campus for IU Southeast students is looking different this semester. From decreased networking events to increased COVID-19 testing, IUS students have had to learn to adapt to the new challenges the public health crisis has posed to communal living arrangements.
To ensure the safety of students, IUS Residence Life and Housing continually follows guidelines that are consistent with the rest of IU’s COVID-19 restrictions such as mask wearing in all public spaces, social distancing and participation in COVID-19 mitigation testing and contact tracing efforts.
Sophomore nursing student Breanna Guthrie said that although she understands why the precautions are in place, a disadvantage of the new policies is that students have far less opportunities to form social connections with each other.
“This year I think everyone feels sort of secluded just because we don’t really have the same networking experience going on like we did in previous semesters,” Guthrie said. “Unfortunately, it’s been tougher to make new friends this year.”
Shelby Worden, an Orchard Lodge resident assistant and sophomore majoring in elementary education, believes that IUS has taken the best precautions to ensure resident’s health and safety.
“We still have small programs for our lodge residents, but we use necessary protocols,” Worden said. “We encourage sanitizing hands, wearing masks and provide prepackaged food if needed, to ensure the safety of others.”
IUS also took strides to follow the IU de-densification guidelines by lowering lodge occupancy and altering the guest policy to limit the potential spread of the infectious disease.
The Director of Residence Life and Housing Abbie Dupay said that they are following all of the guidelines set by IU. They are disinfecting the common areas at least three times a day and making sure that students have access to cleaning supplies when they are in common area spaces.
Indiana University’s residential campuses, including IUS, also provide separate isolation and quarantine housing exclusively for students living in IU residence halls. According to the IUS COVID-19 Testing Dashboard, from Jan. 30 to Feb. 7, there were no cases of COVID-19 present out of the 103 students who live on campus.
Worden said as an RA, it is difficult dealing with the lack of liveliness in the lodges. But despite having less residents than ever before, RAs are still dedicated to making on campus living fun and enjoyable.
“It’s a slow process, but we are making the best of it,” Worden said. “I still want to make campus life fun and welcoming for all.”
Dupay said overall, students have done a great job following the policies and procedures set forth by Indiana University and attributes much of the success to the continuous support of the entire campus community.
“We recognize that the expectations of what college would be, or once was, is not the same as the reality for the majority of our residents,” said Dupay. “This means that our approach has been to offer even more grace, support, and education as we navigate through this next year.”