Life on campus with only 250 students

Photo+by+Emma+Carmody

Photo by Emma Carmody

Spring is in the air in St. Louis; yet, on SLU’s campus, the Clock Tower fountains are dry, hammocks remain empty and the tulips are blooming with no audience. While most SLU students returned home for the semester, some remain quarantined in the limited campus housing options currently available. Still, this leaves the campus with far fewer students walking down West Pine than it typically sees each spring semester. 

 

On March 12, SLU president Fred Pestello, Ph.D., sent out an email to the SLU community that remote learning would commence due to COVID-19. Pestello stated that all SLU students should move out of their on-campus housing unless special circumstances apply, with circumstances including international students who cannot safely return home and those who would feel safer staying at the university. By March 23, all on-campus residents were moved into Marchetti Towers, Spring Hall and Grand Hall. 

 

The other residence halls on campus are currently housed by SLU Hospital healthcare workers in an effort to stop the spread of potential cases of COVID-19 and give them a location to “rest and recuperate after a long day’s work” under the student housing consolidation plan, Pestello said. 

 

The limited number of students still at the university and St. Louis’ stay-at-home order beg the question: what is it like on SLU’s campus without any students?

 

Sophomore Ethan Mosure can answer this for all the students away from their college home. Mosure, currently living in Marchetti Towers, was one of the few students who got to remain in his same apartment from the school year. 

 

“Campus is dead,” Mosure assures. “There are some people outside enjoying the often-times nice weather, but for the most part, people have either left campus or are quarantining themselves.” Sometimes, Mosure notices students studying at the steps of the Clocktower but confirms that he only rarely sees other people on campus. 

 

Sophomore Abbigail Bredfield, a Spring Hall Resident Advisor and Marchetti Towers Desk Worker, agrees with Mosure. “Campus is quiet. There are not that many students left on campus, but even for the ones you see, there is little to no socializing being done.”

 

Mosure remains in his apartment because his job and flight training are considered essential and, as he states, “I can’t afford to quit and start fresh.” As is the case for many, Mosure had to make sacrifices in order to keep his job, trying to keep from adding his name to the list of over 22 million people who are currently unemployed in America (CNN). 

 

Similar to the reality of many SLU students, the switch to online learning is not coming easy. Bredfield, for one, remains in her Spring Hall dorm room because of “a lack of reliable internet access where I live at home in Arkansas,” she said. 

 

Administration has sent home all non-essential workers and implemented to-go dining options for those still on campus in an effort to keep the university healthy. In one instance, Mosure called maintenance to fix his faucet, only to have a worker arrive in a face mask and gloves. “It is safe to say SLU is definitely taking every precaution necessary to maintain health on campus,” he said.

 

Bredfield, however, thinks that SLU may be lacking in the implementation of their ideas to keep campus safe. 

 

“SLU has done, in my opinion, an okay job,” she said. “It was told to residents who remained that there would be someone (likely a nurse) at the entrance of every on campus residence to check temperatures every time we entered the building in order to immediately quarantine those who begin to present symptoms, and that has not happened.” 

 

Bredfield states that housing did provide “go boxes” in the case that a resident got sick, to put their necessities in before being quarantined in the Village Apartments. However, “It is unlikely that I will have anything packed in my ‘go box’ until after I am already sick,” she said. 

 

When it comes to dining, Bredfield chooses on-campus options, including Starbucks, Grand Dining Hall and Subway—although, she sees some health risks in this option. “I do wish that all workers wore gloves and masks when serving food because the majority of the time they do not; they may carry a mask, but they do not wear it,” she said. 

 

Despite her concerns, Bredfield is happy to be on SLU’s campus during these stressful times. “I appreciate that they took my individual needs into consideration and allowed me to remain on campus as well as continue to work.” 

 

Mosure also sees the bright side. As he states, “I have a kitchen in my apartment, so I will be coming out of this pandemic the next Gordon Ramsay.” 

 

While many students who have left campus miss their college home, they’re not alone in this feeling. In a message to the SLU community on April 16, Pestello stated that “At points during the day, flashes of us together on campus arise in my mind’s eye. I envision us talking and laughing together as we run into each other here in St. Louis and in Madrid.”

 

“All of that to say, I miss you. Each and every one of you … We will get through this together as OneSLU. I am confident in that,” he closed.

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