The beginning of fall 2021 semester is different from fall 2020


The IgKnight Fair is one of the many events that were unable to occur last year, but did this year.

Madison Mann, Staff Writer

The start of the fall 2021 semester marked the first milestone of changes across Gannon University regarding the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

As we move forward into the “new” world revolving around COVID-19, universities such as Gannon have worked to provide students with the safest academic climate they can while making changes to bring about a more “normal” semester for students, faculty and staff.

Armin Comic, a senior advertising communication major, said the beginning of this semester is different from the beginning of the fall 2020 semester.

“Besides wearing masks there are no more COVID restrictions such as social distancing and social limitations, which is fantastic,” Comic said. “The overall environment on campus is much more engaging, in turn providing better education.”

Comic is also a part of Gannon social fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha. The switch in COVID-19 guidelines has made it easier for the PIKE organization to hold in-person events as well as organize more opportunities in relation to service to better the Gannon community.

Comic said that being a part of this organization during the tough restrictions the university had in place a year ago was difficult because being able to physically interact with each other brought joy to campus. The lifting of COVID-19 social gathering restrictions will allow Pi Kappa Alpha to continue to grow its organization, which has made a positive impact on the Gannon community for years.

Comic also said that lifting social gatherings restrictions will improve mental health on campus.

“The ability to socialize is what eases tension and pressures we as students go through during the school week,” Comic said.

Shae Wilson, a senior health care management major, also said COVID-19 restrictions impact mental health, agreeing that this semester’s changes will positively impact the student body’s mental health in relation to anxiety, social depression and overall happiness.

Wilson is also an active member in Gamma Sigma Sigma, Gannon’s service sorority.

“Being able to provide service in person this semester with my sisters is a huge factor in moving past COVID-19,” Wilson said.

“During the last year our organization has struggled to give back to our community while they are struggling. The social distancing lift will allow us to make Erie better and to make a difference in those lives who may be at risk of poverty.”

Franklin Castro, a Gannon Medal of Honor award winner and current Master of Business Administration student, provided a different perspective regarding these changes.

“My most favorable change on the university’s behalf has been the lowered mask restriction outside academic buildings,” Castro said.

“The thing I have missed most throughout the pandemic is seeing my friends and professors faces. Being able to smile at those walking through AJ’s Way has made a difference. Human interaction is important.”

However, while Castro is in favor of the mask requirement being lifted outdoors, he wishes he could see faculty and student faces in the classroom.

“I miss everyone knowing who I am, and I miss knowing who the student body is as well,” Castro said. “It sucks but we’ve been through it, and we can get through it the next few months or however long it may last.”

Braden Olsen, an MBA student and member of the Gannon men’s basketball team, acknowledged that Gannon’s revised restrictions allow more social events and opportunities for students to be engaged on campus.

“Last year was hard being forced to stay in the house 24/7 while being an athlete,” Olsen said.

“Last year was my first year on Gannon’s campus. It was hard to meet people and feel more involved with the university beyond basketball. I am excited to be able to join socialization this year and be more of an active student beyond athletics. I feel if we stay responsible, we shouldn’t have trouble this year.


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