Many of us are tired of hearing the words “unprecedented times,” and especially, the word “quarantine.” In a weird way, this semester’s quarantine seems way easier than first semester’s because we’ve been through it before. I have to give props to Colgate for things they’ve altered, specifically Dining Services.
The convenience of getting meals delivered essentially right outside of your dorm room door will always be unparalleled (even for Good Uncle you have to walk outside and down the sidewalk to pick up your buffalo mac & cheese and Phish Food), but as we all know, there were some cons to the Colgate quarantine meals last semester. There is no need to continue to discuss the cod (there is salmon on the menu this semester too). The dining staff did their best and I will forever be thankful to them. But this semester’s meal process, in my opinion, is far superior. Starting off with snacks (and I will say the snacks are amazing, though I am not sure why there is so much Raisin Bran), allowing students to pick out food they want daily is much more efficient, personal and allows for minimal waste.
As for meals, and besides the fact that I am still mourning the popcorn chicken bowl that was taken off the menu, the tacos were reminiscent of the Edge Cafe’s knock-off Chipotle and were so welcomed. In general, the ability to go down a line and choose what you want is more waste efficient and accommodating to each student’s taste. Not to mention, even with Frank resembling more of a maze than a dining hall, the ability to step into the establishment brings some sense of normalcy to meal times. I do suggest that the breakfast get tackled in a similar way, making the meal less wasteful for students who do not like eggs, raisin bran or bagels.
Granted, the delivery of meals last semester may have been technically more COVID-19 safe, Colgate does an amazing job at keeping positive cases to a minimum, with only eighteen testing positive from arrival day tests. Therefore, it is safe to say that Colgate is pretty good with testing and monitoring. Walking to Ho or the HOP for testing may be far for some people, but let’s be honest, in these freezing temperatures, at least it gets us out into the fresh air. As much as I am not a fan of extending the quarantining because about 200 people did not go to testing, I understand some people forget. (This is a plea to please remember to get tested, though, because those not allowed into the Field House when it is at capacity during open hours really want the gym reopened).
Another pro of quarantining this time around and in negative degree temperatures? Rolling out of bed a minute before class. Tell me you are savoring these days where you can wear pajamas all day. Jeans? Who is she? Joggers? My best friend. Don’t get me wrong, personally I love picking out a nice outfit for class, a warm one, it gets me ready for the day. But being able to wake up and take classes with pajama shorts on and be nice and cozy… it’s been a blessing in January. Will I probably still go to my in person classes in sweatshirts? 100%, but not having to bundle up for Zoom, and logging on with a blanket wrapped around me is perfectly comfortable. For many of us, starting class in quarantine has some benefits.
We all know that Colgate tends to be much stricter than many other colleges (I’m looking at big universities–cough cough, singer Morgan Wallen clubbing at the University of Alabama for example), but they seem to have been creating more Commons events and other organizations have also contributed to programming, such as the Coop creating activities (like Coop Kits!). Outdoor clubs have been setting up fun opportunities to get outside and do cool things such as snowshoeing. Although outdoor hours are freezing compared to the beginning of Fall 2020, we are not constricted to a designated outdoor area. Being able to go outside to grab food has also made outdoor time less prison-like. I’m not terrified walking down to 113 Broad to grab Rusch’s because being outside seems like way less of an offense.
Maybe it’s just because this isn’t our first quarantine, or maybe because it’s easier to be stuck inside when being out comes at the risk of frostbite, but this past week in quarantine has not been nearly as boring and frustrating as the quarantine in Fall 2020. I have to applaud Colgate for seemingly loosening up the rules and making an effort to be more waste efficient and cognizant of student’s wants during meal-time. Mental health is a whole different ball game and it will be interesting to see how Colgate tackles (and hopefully improves) their ways to help student’s mental state this semester. So far, though, so good.