Freshman discuss on-campus living and learning experience amid COVID-19


GVL / Katherine Vasile

Zsolt Palmer, Staff Reporter

Move-in week was a little different this year, with extra procedures and extra rules to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s not just move-in week with new rules this year, once students made it to their dorms, they were greeted by special campus-wide regulations. Alongside other changes around Grand Valley State University Campus, living in a dorm now looks very different from past years.

Returning students will immediately recognize the changes. Study rooms now have strict capacities. All occupants of a residential unit must wear a face covering when any guest is present. Any other space in a living center or apartment is an area where face masks are required. But it is for new students that the transition can be the most

To get a sense as to how these rules are impacting new GV students, I chatted with two freshmen, Samantha Rahm and Jesse DeWeerd, to ask them about their experience in the first two weeks.


Do the COVID-19 prevention rules make you feel safer here on Campus? 

RAHM: Yes, I feel a lot safer on campus with the rules; I just wish there was better enforcement.

DEWEERD: Since I have been here on campus, I have felt very safe due to the mask requirements and distance recommendations that have been put in place. Not once have I felt very unsafe and or wished I did not live on campus. It has been a pleasurable experience so far, and I look forward to continuing to enjoy all campus has to offer. My hope is that it stays open for the semester.

Do you think the COVID-19 prevention rules have limited your ability to socialize?

 RAHM: It has limited my ability to socialize, but Grand Valley offers a lot of online activities to make up for the lack of face to face socializing!

DEWEERD: I believe that the COVID – 19 prevention rules have indeed limited my ability to socialize; especially in large group social settings which would have been frequent in the event that the virus was not present. However, I think that it is necessary for us to keep in mind the safety of the campus while we are there and adhere to the rules to keep the campus open. Therefore, I have no problem sacrificing some social experience in order to stay on campus.

Do you think all of your friends are complying with the rules as well as they should?

RAHM: No, some people look at COVID like it’s a joke and continue to party, sadly.

DEWEERD: In general, I think that the majority of the campus – including my friends – have adhered to the safety guidelines for the most part. We all want the campus to stay open and be able to have our first year of college regardless of the events present. The only aspect I think that has been lacking somewhat is the 6 feet apart guideline.

Despite the limitations, do you feel confident that you’ll have a successful school year?

RAHM: I believe I should still succeed, it’s just gonna be a bit harder than normal. But we’re not the first set of freshmen that started with a rough start to the year. At least we’re not experiencing a world war!

DEWEERD: Despite the limitations this year, I believe that I have be very successful in my academics this year. I especially enjoy the asynchronous aspect of some of my classes because I feel as if they have done a fantastic job organizing and allowing students to be successful online.


Despite the various changes and limitations imposed this year, DeWeerd and Rahm appeared to remain, on the whole, optimistic about their future here at GV. And as a truly unprecedented school year begins, we could all use a little bit of that optimism.