By: Julia Acquavita ’22
After about a two-week closure during the campus-wide quarantine, Providence College has finally resumed its in-person classes and use of the Concannon Fitness Center, Phillips Memorial Library, and indoor dining at Raymond Dining Hall and Alumni Hall Food Court. PC students have been eager to get back out on campus and recommence their weekly activities with their peers, whether it is meeting with friends in the library to do work, going to the gym, or simply grabbing a bite to eat at Ray.
On Oct. 15, Dean Steven Sears sent an email officially announcing the idea of a “PC Comeback.” Sears expressed that, regarding the reopening of the College after the recent lockdown, “It has taken a tremendous amount of hard work and discipline to get here, and I am grateful to every one of you for the part you have played.”
Between the combined effort of testing every student each week, along with everyone wearing masks and sticking to their pods these past few weeks, students have contributed to bringing PC back to normal.
However, the work is not done. We must keep up the hard work so to not regress back to a forced quarantine. Sears stressed that the only way to avoid going backwards is to learn from our “trials and tribulations” and truly commit to doing our part to keep us on track for five more successful weeks in Friartown. The most important thing to do right now is be smart with where we choose to go, regarding both on-campus and off-campus activities.
Sears gave the example that going out to dinner at a restaurant is not safe, while going to grab an iced coffee to-go from LaSalle is much less risky. We must also continue to stay within our pods, avoiding interactions with other pods that could potentially lead to more positive cases.
Ray and Alumni are back to their normal dining hours. As of Oct. 18, all students were given the option for dine-in or take-out in both halls. Ray will begin to bring back some of its favorite offerings that students have been missing, such as made-to-order eggs, build your own salad, and Rustic Roots. Ray also has several special events planned in the coming weeks, such as a donut holes topping bar, a “Rock the Block” party, and “billionaire” burgers for all students to enjoy.
Alumni Hall will offer Fresh Fusion, Fry Factory, Burger Shop, Yella’s, soup, Slice of Life calzones, and Simply-To-Go sandwiches and salads for dine-in Monday–Friday from 10:30 a.m.–11 p.m. and Saturday–Sunday 12 p.m.–11 p.m. Mobile ordering is also available during this time.
Ruane Cafe will remain closed for the semester; however, Blessed Beans & Bakery (located in Ray) will re-open, continuing to serve Starbucks beverages, pastries, and desserts. Lastly, Eaton Street Cafe will remain mobile-order only, available only on Sunday–Saturday, 5 p.m.–10 p.m. However, students must continue to wear masks and maintain social distancing while dining in and out.
This was not the last of the “PC Comeback” email students received. Sears sent out another email highlighting the change in mood on campus. With classes resuming some in-person instruction, and a return to normal Friartown activities, Sears noted that campus seems to be much happier all around.
Sears also shared what he called “The Great Friar Comeback Pledge.” By taking and signing this pledge, we, as members of Friartown, are committing ourselves to return from the recent outbreak unified and stronger. Some of the claims stated in the pledge include, “I will value and respect the interconnectedness of all members of the Providence College and Rhode Island community,” and “I will commit to actions and behaviors that will not impede the access and opportunity of others.”
By signing this pledge, we are expressing our gratitude towards the College and each other in all of our efforts to make campus a safer and healthier place for the coming weeks leading into Thanksgiving break by wearing a mask, staying within our pods, and social distancing. When students sign this pledge, they are eligible to receive Pledge Perks, such as weekly give-away raffles. The next time students visit the testing center in the Peterson Recreation Center, they will be able to pick up a Comeback Kit, which includes some information about pods and other public health guidance, a no-touch tool for keypads, a small hand sanitizer, and a Friar mask with a single-use filter in every bag.
The Board Of Programmers (BOP) has also been involved in the reopening of campus through a wide variety of events that encompass re-establishing the Friartown community in a comfortable and safe way. Prior to the lockdown, BOP conducted the event “Coping with COVID” via Zoom, which included a mental health panel that discussed readjusting to life on campus during a pandemic.
Also, the weekend of Oct.18, BOP hosted their Fall Market event where students were invited to tie-dye masks as a way to destress during the chaos of studying for midterms. In addition to the in-person and Zoom events, BOP has also been hosting events that students can sign up for and have the materials for the event delivered right to their dorm rooms to avoid in-person contact. This past week, the “Paint a Pumpkin” event took place. Students signed up online and then received a pumpkin and painting supplies at their rooms, allowing them to engage directly with the event from the comfort of their dorms.
These are certainly unprecedented times, but through the continued support of Dean Sears, PC Dining staff, BOP, and most importantly, our faculty and students, we will persevere and make it until Thanksgiving break. Every student must put forth their best effort to ensure that Friartown is a safe and healthy place for the PC community to thrive in. With the example set forth by Dean Sears and others, all of this is possible.