In-person events have returned to Texas Woman’s University after a months-long hiatus, the office of student life announced Oct 5. Most of the events that will be offered will take place outdoors. Activities such as games on the lawn, outdoor conversations and bike rides are some of the events students can expect to see. Students are still required to continue practicing social distancing and wear masks.
Part of the purpose of initiating in-person events is the importance of community, vice president of student life Monica-Mendez Grant said.
“One of the things we believe is really important to TWU is the development of community and certainly student organizations that represent a large part of the community that we have here at TWU,” Grant said
Since the beginning of the pandemic rates of students reporting having difficulty with engagement due to lack of human connection has skyrocketed. According to The Scientist, studies show that social isolation has a negative impact on the brain. With many of us now operating from home, it makes it difficult to feel connected to one another.
As such the motivation behind starting in-person events was to combat those difficulties with isolation.
Students and staff were voicing their struggles with isolation – particularly first year students Associate Vice President of Student Enrichment and Health & Support Dr. Stephanie Brown said.
“That was really concerning to us – that our incoming students were feeling isolated and not feeling a sense of connection at TWU,” Brown said. “I can’t imagine this being your first year at college. It’s such a strange situation – it is the antithesis of what you envision when you come to college.”
Prior to approving the initiative, there was a lot of planning and coordination that went into ensuring student’s safety, Brown said.
“We did a lot of consultation around this issue – before taking this initiative- and consulted closely with the vice president of student life as well as risk management, Brown said. “We got the approval to do that in large part because we’re committed to safety.”
“We initially started thinking about the conversations on the lawn because it feels like – I know we feel this way – what is lost most of all is this opportunity to connect to another human being and just talk,” Brown said. “I think everyone is missing that – it’s not quite the same over Zoom.”
By centering the needs of students’ and their well-being the office of student life hopes that in-person events will help bring a “sense of normalcy” back to campus.
“I believe this opportunity to partner with students and provide something we think is important to campus is going to serve us in the long run,” Grant said.
To see the full schedule of in-person events visit the office of student Life website.
Sabrina Gomez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image: Photo by Sarah Pham.