Partying in a Pandemic: Be COVID-conscious as students return to college social life


Courtesy / Meghan Landgren

Lanthorn Editorial Board

August is oftentimes seen as the most exciting month of the year for GVSU students: you move into a new apartment or return to a beloved one, summer classes have been completed as of last week, and most importantly, GVSU students reunite with friends that have become during their college experience.

Seeing these old friends come back to Allendale and Grand Rapids gives students a much needed sense of normalcy amid the stress of this pandemic. Having a drink while catching up with friends and attending social gatherings is part of what makes the college life so great in the first place.

With the blunt insight that these house parties and tailgate gatherings will be upheld as a pillar of college life — despite the pandemic — it is important to keep health in mind when invited to social gatherings of all kinds.

College students have been dragged through mud over this pandemic, as most of the viral videos going around feature young people, even in Michigan, drinking and partying in large groups with no masks in sight.

Of course, the unequivocal smart thing to do is not to party, but this is rhetoric away from the holier-than-thou university messaging to students who will do it regardless, who we all know exists.

We understand many students will wisely opt-out of party life, but there will be some dedicated to it despite warnings. Instead of the university message being “don’t party,” realistically, it makes more sense for the message to be “here’s how to party responsibility,” with helpful tips like these:

-Try to avoid large gatherings where you don’t know a lot of the people, as you have no way of knowing who they have come into contact with. If there is any doubt, the safer option is stay home and watch Netflix where the virus can’t get you.

-If having people over, keep crowds small, try to stay socially distant, or even move the party outside to prevent being in a compact space where the virus can spread more easily.

-That vape your friend might have might look enticing, but don’t use it. Avoid sharing drinks and participate in activities that can be executed while abiding by social distancing guidelines. In fact, regulation beer pong is played on an eight-foot table, so it can be played while being distant, as long as you’re of legal drinking age and drink responsibly, of course.

As is the case with most things in life, try to use logic and reasoning in these situations. It’s foolish to assume every college student will willingly opt-out of traditional university drinking, but if that is important to you as a student, be considerate of the circumstances.

As nice as it is to see old friends and feel a return to normalcy, nobody wants to see someone they love in the hospital because they shared a red solo cup or hugged an old roommate. It could be your professor, an essential worker or yourself.