They are not bare, however. During spring semester, some 125 students continued to live in St. Paul residence halls and dozens of essential staff members continued to work in both St. Paul and Minneapolis. Here’s a glimpse into what life on the St. Paul campus looked like this spring.
students, but those on campus are doing a good job following social distancing guidelines. Students can be outside, and they’re allowed in their residence hall and to swipe into the Anderson Student Center to pick up prepackaged meals from T’s. “Residence Life is continuing to serve the needs of students remaining on campus, which includes a learning-outcomes approach to living on campus: holding virtual one-on-one meetings; holding virtual community meetings; sharing important information about COVID-19, how to be safe and live healthy; and hosting online events,” he said. “The Division of Student Affairs is providing online opportunities for all students to further their learning and engagement.” Saúl Roman, Morrison Hall director and a graduate student in leadership and student affairs, said his position requires him to wear many hats to be a versatile leader. At the beginning of the pandemic, developments and communications were coming fast, so he spent much of his time making sure students had the latest information.When students relocated to Morrison Hall, Roman posted welcome letters on their refrigerators. He followed up with emails regarding virtual group meet- ups and updates on happenings, including Tommie Shelf foodmobile visits.
FAR FROMHOME Alejandra Galo is a first-year student from Honduras who was drawn to St. Thomas for its actuarial science program. She has wanted to study abroad since sixth grade, although she never imagined her travels would include a global pandemic.
When it came time to decide if she would go home or stay on campus, Galo weighed her options. If she went back to her family in Honduras, finding a place to study with reliableWiFi would be a challenge. Then her country closed its borders until further notice. She worries about loved ones back home, especially those with compromised immune systems. Galo moved fromGrace Hall to Morrison Hall where she has an apartment to herself.While she said it’s been lonely on campus, she visits with friends through Zoom. She’s appreciative of the support from the St. Thomas community, especially the Dining Services folks she sees when picking up her meals fromT’s restaurant on campus. “Every time I pick up my food, they’re so happy and supportive,” Galo said. “They always say, ‘How are you doing?’ It’s nice to have someone you can talk to. They’re energetic and happy to see you. That feels good.” REMAININGON CAMPUS Galo is one of approximately 125 students granted an exemption to stay in the residence halls because they couldn’t return home for various reasons. Some had to move to a new building; a majority are living in Flynn and Morrison residence halls. Aaron Macke, associate dean of students and director of Residence Life, acknowledged the situation is hard for
As things have calmed down, he said there’s more room to breathe and think about the current needs of students. “It’s been a challenge to be innovative with Zoom, but we’re using the platform to do more events like bingo nights andmovie watch
parties,” Roman said. “Some people are even doing step- by-step painting instruction. This has been really a call for creativity, especially when it comes to students’ needs.” MISSING FRIENDS Nicolas Lovichi is a Fulbright Scholar and teaching assistant from France living in Morrison Hall. He said St. Thomas has a strong international community, and it was hard to see many of his friends – including his roommates – leave campus.
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