Students: 'Campus atmosphere is incredible'

Reunions with friends, teammates and professors … in-person classes … seeing familiar faces on campus … some sense of normalcy. Heidelberg students seem overjoyed to be back for the fall semester, even as they navigate flex classes, wearing masks and social distancing and new ways of interacting with each other.

We asked several students for their reactions to the first two weeks back on campus – time that included a COVID-19 test for all, quarantine for a week in their campus residences and meal delivery, among other things they have been asked to do to help keep the campus safe and healthy. While these first two weeks haven’t been perfect, they’re not taking for granted their time on campus so far. Here’s what they had to say.

Rachel Gerken, senior:

“It feels so good to be back at the Berg! It feels so good to be back in the classroom with my peers after so long. Don't get me wrong, it was definitely not the same as before, but it was some sense of normalcy that has been missing for six months now. I know that some of us probably took our time on campus for granted before, so now, especially for us seniors, we are making the most of every moment that we have here at Heidelberg!”

Zachary Abraham, freshman:

I have seen a few things that have cheered me up throughout the day. Yesterday, I saw the Concert Choir out in front of the Campus Center. I thought that as they all came together, ‘This is what being together is all about.’ I have enjoyed finally being able to focus on my major with people that are in the same major.”

Kamryn Memmer, senior

“Coming in freshman year, this is not how I would ever have imagined my senior year to start out. Having flex classes is very confusing because most teachers have split the class in half so some days you are in person and some days you are online. It's hard to keep up with it, but I'm sure as time goes on, it will become a routine. 

“On the first day of in person classes I went into Hoernemann for breakfast and the first person I saw was Debbie right at the entrance, happy as can be. She's always so happy to see us students. I didn't know when I walked into Hoernemann that morning that I needed that positive energy and it was very uplifting to see her all happy to have us back. That was very encouraging and so great to see on the first day back on campus. Everyday I look forward to seeing her positive energy. It keeps me going and pushing to be my best.” 

Liana Petitti, junior

“Since March, I have been waiting to be back home at Heidelberg with all my friends and amazing teachers and coaches. Since being back, I have loved finally getting back into the classroom and collaborating with my professors and peers in person. It is so nice to see campus alive again, filled with students walking and sitting outside finally together again. I look forward to getting back together with my team (volleyball) next week and starting our preparation for our spring season!! I couldn't be happier to finally be back at the Berg and hope we can continue to practice our safety protocols so we can stay here all year!"

Kelsey Stanfield, freshman

“Being on campus for my first year has been a wondrous experience so far. Although it may be a nontraditional year, walking along the paths with the last bit of summer in the air mixed with the perfume of the flowers in bloom reminds me that this experience is what we make of it! All of my professors have gone above and beyond to accommodate students and are masters of blending online and in-person learning. I am highly encouraged by the proactiveness of the university and look forward to a great beginning of my college career!” 

Anna Cavanaugh, senior

“When I got word of returning to Heidelberg's campus in the middle of a pandemic, there were so many unanswered questions that were running through my mind. Since being back, the campus atmosphere is incredible. Students are overly excited about getting up and attending class and the professors are doing everything possible to make the transition as easy as possible for us. I am so happy to be back in my education classes and hope to continue student teaching alongside my classmates.”

Madeleine Szawranskyj, junior

“The best part about being back on campus is having all of my friends and teammates back. I lived and worked on campus all summer as a student worker and orientation leader, alongside 5 other students. It was great working with some friends and faculty this summer, but it's definitely nice having most people back and having an even fuller schedule with classes going on again. I love that all of my classmates and friends are here now that I can hang out with them finally (safely). I'm really looking forward to sports starting back up again regarding practices and workouts (since volleyball season got moved to the Spring). Overall, it's just super nice seeing people back at Heidelberg and being back in the friendly community that I call my second home.

“I think just seeing everyone back on campus is encouraging to me, as well as having school work and just being occupied with more obligations/responsibilities with that heavier schedule. My teammates and friends/classmates are also super comforting, as they have my back and work on assignments with me, or are there for me whenever I need a pick-me up or break from the stress of college and classes.”

Ashley Dawson, senior

"The best part of being back on campus is seeing all of my Heidelberg family again. Even though we may be physically distancing ourselves, there is nothing like waving to Pat Page in Brenneman or sitting in Gundlach, even when it's for a class. Waving across Greenfield Street has become even more of a personal experience: it takes even more to recognize people now that we all are wearing masks for each other's safety. I'm really hopeful for this semester because my professors have been very cognizant and firm on the expectations to keep everyone safe. It's nice to know we're all on the same page and that communication is clear."


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