Commuter Column: COVID Interviews

Nicholle Capria, Staff Writer

I would like to give a big welcome to the Class of 2024 as they begin their first semester on the Heights. Commuters and resident students alike have waited to see some of their friends for many months, but we all know that campus will look different now. In light of the new circumstances, I have interviewed several student peers about their opinions on those changes.

I asked Audie Murphy, Class of 2021 (Business Analytics, Marketing, and MIS Triple Major), what he is most excited and nervous about this semester. He responds: “What excites me most is that in my four years at Le Moyne, [this semester is] our biggest chance to show our unity as a student body and a college. Making the necessary sacrifices so that it can go off without a hitch so big it can derail the entire semester will prove what administration has said all along: Le Moyne is an institution that is different. We can really show how great we are. Hopefully that’s a challenge students are able to accept and one we are able to succeed in. The nervousness stems from if an outbreak happens and I get infected. If I happen to be an asymptomatic case, I can cause someone else to be infected. That’s one of the things everyone fears a lot. It just points back to taking all the precautions necessary and making sure that doesn’t happen.”

Brian Pompa, Class of 2020 (Communications and English Major with CRW track), does not share the same optimistic sentiments as Murphy. I asked Brian to what extent he feels comfortable interacting on campus. He says, “I don’t know if I feel that safe because a lot of times, most of the COVID cases show no symptoms. With that, you don’t know if people are spreading it around even if they have no symptoms. People could easily say they don’t have these symptoms.” Pompa spoke about his concerns that students would lie about their symptoms on the Emocha app, which students have to use to get onto campus. He says, “[Lying on the app spreads] more COVID and causes us to go home earlier.”

Pompa also expressed some critiques on the training modules that students had to complete before the beginning of the semester. He says, “It seems pretty convoluted and a little bit vague in my opinion. Yes, we had COVID training, but they didn’t really explain much about commuter students.” Commuter students make up a third of the student body, yet Pompa notes that no commuter module was included in the training. Lastly, Pompa expressed that there was no mental health discussion for students.

Many student’s sports, clubs, and other activities got cut short last semester. The Class of 2020 has to wait for a future graduation ceremony. However, it remains unclear to Sonia Patrician, Class of 2021 (English Major with CRW track) whether students will get to participate in their hobbies this semester either. I asked her what she was most looking forward to that she missed out on last semester. Patrician participates in music on campus as a member of Le Moyne College Singers, as a vocal student, and as a Music minor. She says, “Singing is out, so nothing. I was looking forward to performing but I don’t know if we’re going to get to.” However, Patrician is “looking forward most to seeing [her] professors” and “missed the in-person experience.”

Overall, everyone on campus has wondered how the semester will play out. College shutdowns at UNC and the early gathering on Syracuse University’s campus makes us all wonder about Le Moyne’s fate. Murphy states, “You can’t answer until you’re back for about a week or two and can see how committed everyone is, or if people are taking this seriously. I don’t necessarily think it’s going to be a complete disaster right away. Once we get back and see what level of maturity people bring, it will be evident if this semester will crash and burn three weeks in or if we can pull it off. So it’s a wait and see right now, and hopefully we’ll have an answer to this question in about a month.”

What do you think, Dolphins? If you would like your voice to be heard, reach out to me at [email protected].