by Kyle Burgess on September 3, 2020
by Hannah Langley ’21
During such uncertain and unprecedented times, beginning college can seem somewhat daunting. Not only do freshmen have to deal with adjusting to college life this year, but they also need to do so in a safe way in order to keep themselves, their roommates, and others safe and healthy.
All of this combined can be somewhat stressful and can impact one’s mental health in a negative way, which is why the Student Advisory Board (SAB) for Mental Health and Awareness has created Quarantine Buddies.
The program allows for peer-to-peer support between freshmen and upperclassmen for emotional or mental health during periods of self-isolation and quarantine. For many students, quarantine has become a reality that needs to be faced, and this isolation can become difficult to cope with on one’s own in a new environment.
Through the program, student volunteers from various clubs and organizations on campus are assigned as mentors to freshmen. These volunteers are there to help freshmen in any way possible, helping them to not only to navigate through college life, but also through any stress and anxiety they may feel due to COVID-19.
Hannah Keough ’23, a member of Providence College’sC’s Active Minds and campus ministry, mentioned how she knew she wanted to get involved with Quarantine Buddies when she heard about it. “I wanted to do it because I can imagine how lonely it will be to be completely isolated for 14 days and how one person checking in on you could mean a lot,” said Keough.
Another volunteer, Kevin Schwalm ’21, president of the Board of Programmers (BOP), mentioned how he has currently not been assigned a freshman because there are currently more volunteers than freshmen. He sees this as a positive thing, however, saying, “it really shows how other Friars are willing to help out.”
Emily Mastrioianni ‘21, another member of BOP, also noted how she saw the number of volunteers as a real testament to the PC community. “Although I wanted to be a part of it right away,” she said, “Iit blows me away to see that so many members of our Friar community are stepping up to be a friend to those who need it.”
Keough stressed how she hopes this program will not only act as a resource for those in quarantine to still experience life at PC, saying, “I hope that people who are quarantined will still feel connected to the campus community and see that you’re never alone in Friartown, even when you’re physically isolated.”
Quarantine Buddies has only started recently, so freshmen students who are in quarantine or who want someone to talk to in general are still welcome and encouraged to apply. Volunteers are also still welcome. To apply, contact the SAB for Mental Health and Awareness.