Dell Woodard
palmettoreport@gmail.com

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — As Winthrop University’s campus is back up and running, after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the campus during the spring semester, many students are still adapting and trying to find ways to keep the social aspects of college alive.

As the fall semester is underway, there are a number of guidelines for COVID-19 that are still in effect as a means to keep students safe on and off campus.

For example, Winthrop says “all in person events and gatherings — both social and student organization related — are strongly discouraged” and outside visitors are prohibited from entering residence halls.

The Walk2Campus student apartment complex, located next to campus, has also taken steps and added new guidelines, including recommending that residents “meet with friends in smaller groups,” due to the pandemic.

However, undergraduate students still have a desire to be social and gather with friends.

Winthrop student Benjamin Ibe, a resident of Walk2Campus, said he still hosts social functions, but he limits the amount of people allowed and only invites the exact same people.

“I actually had an event yesterday and it was just about, I’ll say seven or eight of us and really that’s the max. I actually posted (that) on my Twitter when I first got back here,” said Ibe.

“You know parties, no one is going to have five people in a party. So I told them, just keep it at, max, 10 (people) and then that 10 should be the 10 that you see every time you have a party,” he said

Some students have also changed their behavior when they go out.

Teyah Floyd, another resident of Walk2Campus, said she recently celebrated her birthday with a group of friends in Charlotte.

“We sat outside and I heard that it’s better to social distance outside, safer than in-closed spaces. So we took the necessary precautions that we had to,” said Floyd.

Both Floyd and Ibe said they hope students socialize in smaller groups to limit the spread of the virus.

However, they said they’re worried younger students, especially freshman, may not be mature enough to realize they have to be held accountable for gathering in large groups, so the social aspects of college life can return to normal.

“It shouldn’t be different people (socializing) each time and then those people who are in the group have to hold themselves accountable for not going to (hang out in) other groups. That’s the only way it’s going to work,” said Ibe.

However, some students are still gathering together, as Walk2Campus has seen some residents hosting small parties in their rooms or gathering around the pool during the summer.

As a result, the apartment complex has gotten stricter with cutting down on the number of people allowed inside a space at time.

The complex has also started to giving out fines and warnings of eviction, if those rules are not followed.