Campus life looks towards normal school year


Courtesy/Tom Canuel

Saint Anselm Student volunteers help move members of the class of 2025 into Joan of Arc Hall

Kathryn Williams, Editor-In-Chief

A normal school year seems to be on the horizon for the Saint Anselm College community, as they reflect on the past year and celebrate the small victories that give them hope.

Small and big changes have already been made throughout campus. A few of the most notable changes include lifting of the mask mandate, vaccine requirements, and a new dining company. However, this year also has the promise of bringing back Saint Anselm community traditions that were lost due to pandemic restrictions. Things as simple as having trays in Davison Hall, racing for a prize at Cabingo instead of socially distanced rock paper scissors, or being able to see each other smile indicate a return to normalcy. 

Many on campus hope to also experience holiday traditions that have not been celebrated since 2019, such as the Christmas Feast and the gingerbread house competition. “Christmas Feast really makes this place feel like home,” said Maura Ramsay, a member of the class of 2023 who was able to experience the holiday tradition before being sent home in March 2020. “Seeing everyone on campus together in Davison, singing and eating great food made this place stand out not only from other schools, but from other places I’ve called home,” she continued. 

Michael Murphy, Assistant Director Residential Life, also expressed his hope to experience these traditions, but noted that this year’s academic calendar is different from previous years. Final exams for fall 2021 will conclude on December 8, so it is uncertain what the timing of holiday events may be. 

When asked to name one Saint Anselm tradition he would recommend for all students, Michael Murphy explained the sense of community that occurs during the Relay for Life. Last year there was a semi-virtual relay with a few hours of walking around Alumni Quad. 

Murphy called the experience “really powerful” and compared it to the recent student turnout to support Liam Bascle, a child whose wish from Make-A-Wish was to join the Saint Anselm Soccer team. “Imagine that but bigger and longer, that’s what Relay is and something that was definitely missing last year,” he said.

Murphy explained the challenges faced last year navigating a global pandemic with the goal of keeping students on campus. “Our job is to bring people together in a community. We had the task of wanting to bring people together with the question of if that was safe to do,” said Murphy. He also noted that a lot of the concerns about COVID are not as pressing due to the high vaccination rate and the lessons learned from last year.

While the Coronavirus has taken its toll on everyone in different ways, the weight of enforcing restrictions weighed especially heavy on some Resident Assistants. “There’s always a portion of their job that is policy enforcement. People perhaps struggled last year because there were a lot more policies in place than in a normal year,” Murphy explained.

“RAs are inherently community builders and they were significantly challenged last year based on rules we had,” said Murphy. Without a mask mandate or restrictions on gathering, perhaps RAs will find this year more enjoyable and less stressful than 2020.

One challenge that the Office of Residential Life faced last year was bringing students back to campus while reserving housing for those who needed to be quarantined or isolated. “We have quarantine housing this year, but it’s more limited compared to last year due to the high vaccination rate,” explained Murphy. Falvey House and Collins House are currently set aside for isolation housing. 

Those who moved in during fall 2020 were limited to one or two move-in helpers that were not permitted to stay for an extended period of time. However, the class of 2025 was able to have a move-in day in true Anselmian fashion. “Even despite the rain, you had hundreds of people cheering and bringing you on, helping to carry things up,” said Murphy. The welcome team included RAs, orientation leaders, athletic teams, and other student volunteers. 

Something new for this year is the reinstatement of intervisitation, which was not allowed until the end of the spring semester in 2021. Beginning at 5pm and ending at 11pm Sunday through Thursday, or 2am Friday-Saturday, students may visit residence halls of other genders. Outside of these hours, guests are allowed to visit in common lounges, according to the Saint Anselm College website. “Please go visit one another,” said Murphy with a laugh. Intervis is one of many aspects to the goal emphasized by the Office of Residential Life of bringing people together in a community. 

Of course, the Coronavirus has not gone away entirely and, despite the high vaccination rate, Saint Anselm College is not completely out of the woods yet. To continue seeing changes the community must remain vigilant and adapt alongside the rest of the world. Equally important, the community must also be thankful for the little victories and keep the Saint Anselm spirit alive.