Residential students at the University of Connecticut shared how they are building connections while adhering to the COVID safety guidelines in place.
Brett Berman, a first-semester communications major, said social media has been a big part of meeting new people and finding safe ways to interact.
“My first friend I made was placed in a Snapchat group with me,” Berman said. “I ended up texting him and very luckily we just hit it off. And from there he introduced me to a friend from his hometown.”
Finding activities have been a challenge, but the outdoors has been the commonplace for students to engage safely.
“We met outside, obviously socially distanced with masks on, and walked around which is basically one of the only things we can do on campus nowadays,” Berman said. “We were able to meet a few other people and we made a small group of about eight kids, which is nice to have but is hard because there’s now a decently sized group of us so it’s hard to be together and distanced.”
With no parties or large gatherings allowed, students take to the open spaces on campus to socialize with other students.
“Our go to has been meeting at the turf in the evenings, and we will bring a frisbee or a football with us,” Berman said. “I know there have been some issues with larger groups there but the times we’ve been it’s mainly just us and others working out.”
Many first year students like Berman are living in single dorms, but it has taken a toll on social opportunities, he said.
“Living in a single is great, it has its benefits, I can’t complain about that. But not being able to socialize and losing the entire social aspect of the first year experience is really a bummer,” Berman said.
For Edward Scott, a first-year ACES major, finding ways to socialize depends on being outdoors.
“Some people I met on my floor from our first meeting, but a lot of them I met walking down the street, saying hello, introducing myself, and interacting forward from there,” Scott said. “I am more extroverted than anything so whoever I see I can talk to.”
Socializing during COVID requires creativity and putting yourself out there, Scott said.
“I have been using FaceTime, Snapchat and a lot of social distance hanging out. Sometimes we will work out together to pass time,” Scott said. “But the people I met are amazing people and are so nice, I genuinely did not expect people to be as open and caring as you might think but they’re just great people who are trying to be safe.”