Welcome Week: Then and now



Despite the transition to semi-normalcy, students on UNI’s campus still maintain the practice of wearing masks on campus.


Arriving on campus Aug. 18th, freshmen were greeted with smiling faces and loose COVID-19 restrictions. Students stood in crowded lines with peers as they waited to begin a new adventure. Rooms were filled with curious Panthers as underclassmen got a feel for campus. Nights were jammed packed with movies, ice cream socials, and picture worthy memories. They took part in various icebreakers, some of which involved getting close to new friends.  

Freshmen like Star Swain came to campus with a clear schedule of how the next two weeks would play out. Pack an unnecessary amount of clothes — say goodbye to protective parents — attend any and every event Joellen shamelessly promotes

“Move-in day was easy. Everyone was so welcoming and there were people everywhere to answer my questions.” Swain, and many other students, agree that it was easy to forget that we were still in the middle of a pandemic during welcome week. “It felt like reality almost, like we were [back to] normalcy.” 

Sophomore, Hannah Krejci, had a very different first week at UNI. With the pandemic at its peak, UNI placed very strict Covid-19 mandates. Students remained in dorms as much as possible. Several classes were held online and most events had to be molded to fit a “Covid-19 lifestyle.” 

“If you were [seen] not wearing a mask, the RA’s had the ability to write you up.” Krejci explans. Rooms had restrictions on the amount of people allowed in them. For instance, each lounge could only house seven people at a time. This year, however, cat-crew leaders hosted groups of 10-15 people in these small spaces to attend various campus wide events. A picnic was held last year, however it was slightly different than the one seen a few weeks ago.

 “UNI spray painted the Lawther Field as sections for social distancing.” Krejci shared while talking about her first week as a panther. She explained that UNI did not host a student organization fair in 2020. Instead, if students wanted to get involved, they would need to deep dive into the UNI student organizations page. On top of that, many clubs paused on events and meetings in order to enforce distancing. Krejci was one of many who stayed up late sifting through hundreds of clubs and emailing dozens of club presidents.

Over the course of a year our university went from an intense case of isolation to a thriving busy campus. It’s easy to forget how much our society has overcome when the world is always moving on.