The class of 2024 at the University of Lynchburg is slowly adjusting to college life in the midst of a pandemic.
Every year, freshmen have to juggle living away from home for the first time, making new friends, and doing well in their classes. This year, freshmen are doing all of that while navigating the challenges that COVID-19 imposes.
Ryan Pulaski, an art major and member of the Westover Honors College, said that he did notice how there are not as many events occurring on campus as he would expect there to be if there was not a pandemic. He said that Westover was not able to go on the retreat that the program has every year for its freshmen, though they are still doing other activities.
“I know this last Saturday they went to Yoders’ Farm. I was unable to go, but I am going with Westover on a sunrise hike next Saturday and I’m very excited for that. They have been really trying to get us active [and there has] been a lot of stuff in conjunction with [the Outdoor Leadership Program]. Sometimes it gets cancelled because of weather, but it tends to work out,” said Pulaski.
Assistant Professor of English Dr. Meghan McGuire received a $500 grant from Keep Virginia Beautiful 30 in 30 Green Grant program.
According to the Keep Virginia Beautiful website the “30 in 30 Green Grant program is designed to empower groups all across Virginia to make an environmental impact in their own communities. To honor our commitment to the Commonwealth, Keep Virginia Beautiful funds thirty grant recipients, announced one each day in the month of June. These grants are awarded to schools, parks, counties and towns, environmental groups, associations, nonprofits, and service organizations in four different categories: Community Beautification, Cigarette Litter Prevention, Litter Prevention, and Recycling.”
Dr. McGuire is using this grant towards the ‘Writers Recycle’ initiative, which she said, “aims to reduce writing instrument waste in our community. As an academic institution and a community of students and scholars, we go through a significant number of pens, pencils, highlighters, and dry erase markers every semester. Up until now, that waste gets thrown away and goes straight into our landfills.”
As part of the University of Lynchburg 2020 Homecoming for Home celebrations the Panhellenic Council, Interfraternity Council, and National Pan-Hellenic Council participated in a virtual homecoming.
Each of the three IFC fraternities, four PC sororities, and three NPHC organizations made a slide outlining what they had done over the year so far, including how much money they had raised for various philanthropies, what their plans were for upcoming service events, and other social plans.
Because of COVID-19, homecoming was moved online into a Google Meet, with four to five representatives showing up for each organization.
Hannah Pine, president of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, said, “Homecoming has always been one of the biggest and, in my opinion, most important events at the University of Lynchburg. I was very concerned that this year, Covid would not allow us to celebrate our University as we should. Luckily, our faculty put on a Virtual Homecoming to give us some semblance of a normal homecoming. As president of Sigma Sigma Sigma, I was asked to present annual updates about our chapter to my community. In doing so, I was allowed to reconnect with some friends I had not seen due to the pandemic as well as meet some alumni that are both part of my Lynchburg and Greek families. Getting to learn how other chapters are making changes and thriving under these conditions both helped me be a better president and helped me feel less alone in my struggle to adapt.
California school fined for defying pandemic order
A California private school has been ordered to pay $15,000 for defying a judge’s order to close classrooms and stop in-person teaching.
Tuesday’s decision in Fresno County Superior Court ends a nearly three-month legal battle that pitted county and state officials against Immanuel Schools, which is a private K-12 Christian school in California’s Central Valley.
Clippers confirm hiring of Tyronn Lue as coach
The Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday confirmed their hiring of Tyronn Lue to replace Doc Rivers as coach.
Lue spent last season as an assistant on Rivers’ staff. Rivers coached the Clippers for the last seven seasons and is now guiding the Philadelphia 76ers.
Netflix reports a summer slump in subscriber growth
Netflix’s subscriber growth slowed dramatically during the summer months after surging in the spring fueled by pandemic lockdowns that corralled millions of people in their homes.
The summer slump came as more people sought distraction from the pandemic outdoors and major U.S. professional sports resumed play, offering other entertainment alternatives to the world’s most popular video streaming service.
The University of Lynchburg Men’s Tennis Team is training to ensure they are able to return to competitive play.
Head Coach Christopher Johnson, said, “Our practice format has not really changed due to fluctuations in case count on campus with the coronavirus.”
Johnson also said, “Our players do a great job of working out and playing over the summer. I was immensely proud that they were in great shape when they returned this fall despite the circumstances.”
He said, “Serving and returning is all about starting the point with a purpose. We do put a high priority here. Our objective is to make the other player work as hard as possible and that is unable to happen if we do not start the point.”
The University of Lynchburg celebrated the class of 2021 with an Oktoberfest event on Saturday, Oct. 17. The festival was held in the pavilion behind the townhouses and was split into two shifts to help control attendance and ensure safety. The event featured wine, beer, bratwurst, and music and allowed attendees a chance to socialize with their peers.
Oktoberfest is traditionally a celebration of beer, wine, and German culture held in Bavaria, Germany. The event was organized by the Senior Planning Committee, spearheaded by Malik Nowlin, a senior and chairman of the Senior Planning Committee, and aided by BJ Keefer and Lauren Ferry Merck.
Nowlin noted that executing the event around pandemic restrictions included thinking about how to facilitate all seniors. He said, “We had people RSVP to account for those that wanted to attend. We also took people’s temperatures before they could enter.”
At the urging of Provost Allison Jablonski and in collaboration with the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, the Critograph has launched a new foreign language section titled Critograph International on their website.
Dr. Georg M. Schwarzmann, associate professor of German and Spanish said “ The Crit is the most widely read student newsletter on campus, so it makes sense to start a collaboration and offer our students of foreign languages a platform to share their ideas and voice their opinions on a variety of matters related to the cultures that they are studying.”
Editor-in-Chief of the Critograph Grace Cavanaugh said, “I am very excited about the new foreign language section. Not only does it help us reach students who understand and can write in a second language but it also offers practice to those who are studying languages.”
On Oct. 12, a new local nonprofit, SHARE Greater Lynchburg was launched.
According to Bill Bodine, president of the Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation, “SHARE Greater Lynchburg is a website developed originally in Charlotte and now in use there as well as Omaha, the Cape Fear area of North Carolina, and now here.”
Bodine continued, “It is a common site where virtually any nonprofit in our region, Lynchburg and the four surrounding counties, can have a page listing that shows what they do, who they impact, upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and a shopping cart that shows items they need where people can actually purchase needed items on Amazon and have them sent directly to the nonprofit. It is a single source for citizens to find help or opportunities that can be searched by category, such as food provision or education, for example. It also makes it easier for people to donate money if they choose.”
Students and tutors at the Wilmer Writing Center are adjusting well to a new system of virtual appointments.
The Wilmer Writing Center offers help with writing to students at the undergraduate, graduate, and advanced graduate levels.
Jer Bryant, director of the Wilmer Writing Center, explained, the “Center is essentially what probably was originally called a writing lab, and it is a place where student writers help other student writers through collaborating and critical thinking and sharing ideas. And we actually do a lot more than I think people are aware of. We help people brainstorm, get started, [and] we help people with any stage of the writing process, whether that be drafting or revising or learning editing skills. I think a big misconception is that the writing center edits grammar, but we actually don’t do that, and writing centers actually moved away from writing in the 1990s, but people still see writing centers that way. And I think another misconception is that only weak writers come to the writing center, but we have students with 4.0s who come to the writing center because they enjoy the discussion that happens in the writing center, and they also enjoy having a second set of eyes look their work over.”
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Lynchburg Experience is still accepting donations until the end of the year after raising a total of $30,100 of a $55,000 goal for the foundation.
On Oct. 3, the Lynchburg community came together to raise awareness on mental health issues and funds at the Out of Darkness Walk.
Austin Nieves, a senior, played a key part in our campus’ involvement. He said, “From what I know, the University of Lynchburg has participated in the walk for the past five years. Dr. Tolbert has been the key for organizing this event the past couple of years. However, this is the second time our [men’s lacrosse] team has participated in the walk. We walked last year at Riverfront Park and this year around our beautiful campus.”
On Oct. 5, the University of Lynchburg Men’s Track and Field Team returned to practice in the midst of the pandemic.
As practices began, Head Coach Samuel Reed said, “Fortunately, for our sport the impact is minimal. Our athletes always train in smaller groups for workouts anyways based upon current fitness and ability level. The changing dynamic is the ability for the whole team to go out for a normal or long run as one big unit. There are still opportunities to interact with everyone at the beginning and end of practices within the safety guidelines required. From a practice standpoint, there is not much of a change and the impact on us is minimal. Mentally and emotionally there is a lot more of a demand to help the students manage the drastic change in campus life and ensure we do not have major issues from a mental health standpoint. We definitely have to invest way more time having individual meetings to ensure our student-athletes stay on track and connected with the proper campus resources to ensure their success in every aspect of life.”
Students at the University of Lynchburg are busy preparing for the upcoming presidential election on Nov. 3.
Josie Laprad, a sophomore, is the communications intern for the Center for Community Engagement. She has been hard at work getting students ready to vote by hosting a voter registration drive on campus that will occur from Oct. 5 through Oct. 9, as well as watch parties for the presidential debates and VP debates.
She said, “I can tell you just about anything you need to know about your rights as a voter, how to register, where you can register, where you cannot register, how to fill out the ballots, [and] how to request absentee.”