Cultivating Community in CSU’s Fall 2020 Semester

Mar 29, 2021 | Summit Magazine

By Taylor Stuck, Communications-Writing major

The strength of CSU’s campus community has proven to be stronger than the many challenges brought by a global pandemic in the past semester. The small, close-knit residence halls have become living units where students have worked hard to adapt to new restrictions and connect with one another.

Sam Muckle, a Secondary Education English major who lives in Ridley Hall, says that his resident director Fred Defendorf had game nights almost every night, giving the students opportunities to bond over fun activities, such as dorm favorite:

“One Night Ultimate Werewolf.” Ridley Hall hosted a “Super Smash Bros.” tournament as a fun way for the whole campus to connect with one another while staying apart.

Residence halls found ways to grow together through worship nights, devotional times and prayer. Although finding ways to gather has been more difficult, students continued many of their favorite events by holding them in different locations on campus, which safely allowed room for more people. Muckle says, “It was a great semester, and I believe we are a closer dorm because of everything that has happened over the past year.”

Students, professors and coaches have also found creative ways to continue building relationships in co-curricular activities in spite of the necessary changes. The school theatre group, Kindred HeARTs, was able to bring a physically distanced production to the CSU campus community in Elsewhere Performance Hall, the building historically known as the campus bookstore. The theatre-in-the-round setting featured physically distanced seating spread out around the actors. Joe Case, a Camping Ministries major who performed in the fall 2020 production, says the change was difficult, but, “As a team we crushed it. Hard work brings all sorts of people together.”

The Kindred HeARTs group typically spends a lot of time together as they prepare for their productions, and they took necessary safety precautions. The team reduced the number of actors on stage at one time by performing four one-act plays, rather than one full-length play. Distancing and masks were in place whenever they were off stage. Even with these new restrictions, Case says the joy the group cultivated and shared with the rest of the CSU family was priceless. “Strangers become friends. And friends become family. As family we encourage each other in both our studies and our walk with Christ.”

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