Less restrictions equals events on campus

By Felicia Roehm

When I started at Rider, everyone was still required to wear masks, every professor had a Zoom link just in case of an emergency and people were getting tested for COVID-19 every day.

Even though that was only a year ago, people are no longer required to wear masks and more professors hope to see their students in person. While the first priority is always safety, this has created a more positive educational environment and a college experience that resembles the one I desired when I decided to attend Rider.

As a sophomore, classes are more challenging and my schedule is busier, but more events are in person, more students are returning and everyone can see each other’s faces. Last year, the freshman class had 677 students, but this year’s class had 823. Life is returning to campus, and more people are shying away from being online. My twin sister is a supplemental instructor and tutor for a math class and her boss continuously tells her to have sessions in person instead of on Zoom. More professors’ office hours are in person as well.

This semester, Rider has brought back many fun traditions including Rock Fest, Cranberry Fest, Rider’s Drag Show and R Factor. COVID is still around; however, more students and faculty want to enjoy all of Rider’s opportunities.

This year, I have already met so many more people by getting involved in different clubs and organizations by having fewer restrictions. I am very grateful to have met such incredible people in just the first month of classes.

I am involved in the Rider Dance Ensemble, and I remember last year most of our meetings were on Zoom and some rehearsals were also through a screen. It has been a nice change to dance in person instead of online this year because doing anything over a screen was a challenge, but especially trying to learn a dance when you were confined to a small space or not clearly seeing every movement. There were also a few instances last year in a dance program when we had to have class on Zoom. A dancer, unfortunately, got COVID at an audition. A few others caught COVID, and everyone had to quarantine. Even though we all wore a mask, it wasn’t enough to prevent it. Also, COVID made the audition more difficult for not just the dancers, but also the choreographers because they couldn’t see everyone’s faces clearly due to the masks. This year for auditions, no one will be required to wear a mask, and that makes it easier for everyone in the room.

I am also involved in the Gail Bierenbaum Women’s Leadership Council and last year, everything was equally in person and on Zoom. Last month, during one of our first events, I got to see people I have only seen on screen. Many of the individuals I spent so much time getting to know online looked very different
in real life. There were also a lot of activities to get to know one another, and I already felt more involved in the council just from that event alone. Technology is great, but not everyone can make the same connections they have in person through a camera. Being able to try transition back into life pre-COVID has been a breath of fresh air.

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