Campus Issues: Social Isolation and Student Involvement

“I have been more active on campus compared to last year,” said Alex Baldwin, a junior at Washburn University majoring in history. “Washburn has done a great job with getting students involved, even with Covid.”

Although social distancing is being used to combat the spread of Covid-19, Washburn has been proactively scheduling activities and providing resources to counter social isolation on campus while working to keep everyone safe.

Eric Grospitch, Vice President of Student Life, said many students that came to school this year were not expecting to become connected on campus, but community engagement is the best way to combat the lack of connection and students currently struggling with feeling isolated are encouraged to reach out to counseling as well as get involved with campus activities.

Student Life and Student Involvement have tried to continue to offer face-to-face events while practicing safe habits.

“They [students] want one more Zoom meeting like they want to stub their toe,” Grospitch said, but he believes it’s a delicate balance between students’ need for connection and their well-being.

Isaiah Collier, Director of Student Involvement and Student Development, said that while some students are comfortable with face-to-face interaction, Student Involvement has incorporated virtual connection for those who are not comfortable.

“We know that this is a trying time, with everything that’s happening with Covid,” Collier said. “We really want to push for them [students] to have safe opportunities to get out there and be more engaged and involved.”

For students who do not wish to interact in person, the “Bod Talk,” a weekly email newsletter, is a great way to stay connected with campus news and opportunities, and the Bod Connect website contains information on upcoming events and organizations on campus.

Social media is another great way for students to feel like they’re part of the bigger Washburn community.
Baldwin said that he has taken to reaching out via Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram to feel connected to his friends and family.

“Keep your head up; we are all feeling isolated now and it’s ok,” Baldwin said. “It’s weird because you want to try to connect even though you know you shouldn’t always be. Just be responsible when you hang out.”

No matter what, Grospitch wants students to know that social distancing doesn’t have to make you feel alone.

“Reach out [because] we don’t know who all is struggling,” Grospitch said.

To schedule an appointment with counseling services on campus or to find more information, please visit its website. For more information on the student activities and organizations that students can join, contact the office of Student Life.

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