Winning one semester and looking toward the next

Anna Malesiewski, Assistant Editor

Well, we made it. We reached the end of the fall semester. Thanks to the diligence of the Gannon University students, faculty and staff, we were able to complete the entire fall semester on campus, with very few hiccups.

With the spring semester looming, I feel a mix of emotions. I feel happy and thankful for the long break we have been given. I am able to spend much-needed time with my family and friends and relax my body and mind before a new semester begins. But I am also sad, because I miss my friends who now live far from me. But most of all, I feel anxiety.

I feel anxiety because with the “winter surge,” I fear we will not go back to campus next semester. With so many other things being shut down, it is not unreasonable to fear that Gannon will too.

But I believe we should not jump to those measures.

One reason why involves money. While many at Gannon receive financial aid, the majority of students still have to pay large sums of money for their college education. If Gannon were to implement all remote learning, students would not be getting a full and complete educational experience. While virtual learning and platforms such as Zoom are tools we can use in situations where it is necessary, I do not believe the delivery of all classes should be this way.

If students are not receiving a complete educational experience, it is unfair to ask students to pay the complete sum of money that comprises their tuition costs. We did not sign up for remote college. If I wanted to do that, I would have chosen to save my money and go to an online college in the first place. Moreover, Gannon has been incredibly accommodating when it comes to making arrangements to give students the best and safest learning experience possible.

If Gannon were to switch to all-remote learning, it is only fair that our tuition costs should reflect that. I would be very frustrated if I had to pay the entirety of my semester bill for an incomplete experience. And I have heard from many college students from multiple universities that this fact alone would be enough to cause them to take a semester off or leave college entirely.

Another reason I believe Gannon should remain open and on campus next semester is the social benefit that comes from college and campus life in particular. Isolation is hard on so many people and can cause mental health to decrease. So many students and faculty look forward to being on campus and being united with their Gannon family. Human beings were made to socialize, and to go a semester without it could be detrimental to some. Some students can also use college as an escape from a poor home environment. It is cruel to rob them of this escape.

There are also numerous classes and majors that require the use of Gannon equipment and facilities. I am a digital media major, for example, and there are a lot of skills I am learning that require the use of facilities and tools I just don’t have at home, such as graphic design software, video editing and filming instruments, WERG or a filming studio. Many other majors and programs are the same way and would be greatly detracted from without the use of the facilities and equipment at Gannon.

Finally, the Gannon community’s diligence in being safe and selfless when it comes to COVID-19 precautions are a testament to the university’s ability to remain open for the spring semester. We have seen students and faculty alike step up and adapt to the circumstances at hand, enabling us to stay on campus the fall semester. We did it once; we can do it again. We are strong as a community, and I believe that we are strong enough to win the second semester.



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