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Welcome back from new UVU student leader

By Karen Magaña - | Aug 21, 2021

Johnny Morris, Special to the Daily Herald

Utah Valley University students walk to campus after being dropped off by the UVX bus on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (Johnny Morris, Special to the Daily Herald)

With more in-person classes, activities, athletic games and more dining options on the horizon, it’s starting to feel like we’re surpassing the unprecedented times that COVID-19 has notoriously put us through. The pandemic has undeniably dismantled what we knew normal to mean. During the shutdown, there were more than a few times when I had to walk back across the parking lot at the store or school because I left my mask in the car. Now, my mask and hand sanitizer have become staples that I don’t even need to think about. For many, the new normal has resulted in living without a family member, living with long-term health effects of the virus, living with the financial burdens brought on by COVID-19 — the list goes on.

It feels as though at this point we’ve gone through the thick of it (hopefully). The availability of the vaccine was a breath of fresh air for the country. Still, I urge our Wolverines and the community at large to continue to take precautions. Per the state, UVU will not be mandating masks on campus but will continue to encourage individuals on campus to wear them and promote safety. Additionally, UVU’s emergency management continues to work tirelessly to ensure that students, staff and faculty are provided with adequate COVID-19 testing and vaccines that will be available for the time being. It’s more important now than ever that we prioritize our safety and the safety of those around us. I am cautiously hopeful for a more “normal” fall semester.

Starting in August, in-person course delivery is set to be at about three-quarters what it was before our shutdown in March of last year, which is also the highest it’s been since then. Because of this, we’ve been working hard all summer in preparation for such an influx of students and are excited to see all the new faces. I never thought I’d say it, but I’m looking forward to longer lines at Wendy’s; I can wait for my spicy chicken nuggets if it means more and more students are making a safe return to campus. With the goal of warmly welcoming students, UVUSA (the student government) will be hosting exciting events throughout the first two weeks of fall semester — events ranging from a family magic show to an open mic night and even Wolverine Bingo!

Campus resources

One of the reasons I love UVU is the availability of so many helpful resources for students. In the fall, we will see a continuation of Fresh Food Fridays hosted by the Center for Social Impact in partnership with Community Action Services and Food Bank — an opportunity for our students to get fresh produce every other Friday (just bring a reusable bag to hold your produce). Our food pantry will continue with online ordering for food and basic hygiene products. Our Student Medical Services will continue to treat students with no insurance required. We’ve also received some exciting news from Mental Health Services about their hiring of a therapist who specializes in LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy.

For student-parents attending campus this fall, you can receive childcare through the Women’s Success Center’s Wee Care Center. They offer sliding scale services and referrals to other childcare centers in the county. Additionally, keep an eye out for the new UVU Student mobile app (it launches in September) that will make registering for classes and accessing important information much more accessible. Despite being student body president, even I have a long way to go when it comes to knowing all of the services offered at UVU. If you’re in need due to COVID-19 or otherwise, reach out.

Student feedback

For better or worse, navigating the new normal for the past year and a half has taught us a lot about what it means to be adaptable. For example, last year we had to move most of our events to an online platform rather than in person. While an inconvenience at first, we found that it was a great way to increase accessibility to our events, getting over 1,000 views on the UVUSA elections information session (having struggled to get even 50 students to attend in the past).

The fall semester will look different from all the rest. While we as a campus have gained experience navigating the pandemic, we still need feedback to help guide us and find the course delivery and programming that work best for the student body. Reach out to your student representatives, professors, deans and advisors to help you through the new semester and advocate for you. I know it’s not easy to be a college student in a pandemic, but know that there is support available. I look forward to seeing you this fall regardless of whether it’s through a virtual Teams meeting or in person. Keep moving forward, Wolverines.

For more information about COVID-19 and UVU, visit uvu.edu/covidinfo/.


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