College Students Hope to Avoid Another Covid Shutdown

As COVID-19 cases start to increase again, it’s apparent that a second shutdown is likely.

Most of Erie Country has been split up into yellow, orange and red zones, which identify the severity of cases in that town.  Almost all of Erie County has turned orange, leaving just a few towns in the yellow zone. 

Sophie Loschiavo, a freshman at Daemen College who started her first year mostly online, said she has not been able to get the fullest experience of college.  She now is fully remote as all the other schools and colleges are and is frustrated about the start of a second shutdown.

“I can’t believe we are about to go into lockdown again” Loschiavo said, “I really hope this doesn’t last as long as the last one.”

Daemen College sophomore Gianna Baia said she has felt outrage and sadness of the start of the second shutdown.

“I wish people would just stay home and follow the procedures put in place so we could all have things go back to normal,” Baia said. “I hope Erie County or towns in Erie County don’t turn red.” 

Baia had high hopes that if people stay home that the world will return to normal again and that she will be able to go back to playing soccer and her job, being a hostess at a local restaurant. 

Its clear that many people don’t like the second shutdown, but it is clearly needed with rising COVID-19 cases in New York State.  Baia stated,

“Hopefully 2021 is a better year,” Baia said.

Peer Leaders Help Freshmen Adjust

Hilbert College peer leaders are making an impact on the new freshman even with the new COVID-19 protocols and restrictions.

Peer leaders are helping many freshmen around campus and making their first-year experience even better.

Peer leaders are like a professor’s helper in the class where they get to connect one on one with the new freshman, helping them navigate things around campus, meet new students and help their class with needs or concerns they have as they are starting their first year of college.  With COVID-19 this year, things are a little different this year but are mostly the same.

Peer leader Sydnea Schiede said that she is like an older sister to her class helping them whenever and however she can.

“Formally if a freshman needs anything like help dropping a class or catching up in a class, I will help them,” Schiedel said. “But if they just need someone to vent or talk to while experiencing their first year of college, I’m there to help them too”

Makenna Payton, another peer leader, said the duties and responsibilities of a peer leader include weekly check-ins, teaching some lessons and just being there for her students.

“I help/assist my professor with any lectures or structured classes,” Payton said. “For example I present and lead a few classes myself like I did a PowerPoint on time management and study tips”

Freshman Paige Wagner said her peer leader has helped her navigate a strange first year of college.

“My peer leader has helped me a lot especially when figuring out blackboard and juggling my assignments,” she said. “My peer leader is very easy to talk to and they usually have 15-minute meetings with each student frequently to check in on them.”

Mix of Excitement and Frustration Over Presidential Election

This year America saw one of its most contentious election cycles in decades. For many Hilbert students this was their first time voting in a presidential election.

On Hilbert College’s campus there was a mix of excitement and frustration, as students were happy to be participating in the process, but put off by some of the rhetoric around the election and anxious to know the results as ballot counting took much longer than a typical year due to the high volume of mail-in ballots because of the pandemic.

A Senior at Hilbert College, Brianna Stegmeier shared her thoughts and said the slow process of counting mail in ballots made for a less-than-ideal first time voting experience.

“This was my first time voting this year, so it was very exciting but at the same time frustrating,” Stegmeier said in an interview conducted before results were finalized. “I just wish everything were more organized and we find out soon.” 

Stegmeier shared how she is frustrated in the system and the many conspiracies that came with this year’s election and hopes everything was fair and accurate.  

Hilbert Sophomore, Grace Zabawa, said it was also her first-time voting.

“I voted by mail this year,” Zabawa said. “It was my first time, so it felt pretty cool and convenient to be able to do it all from home since I am all online.”

Zabawa was thankful for the opportunity to be able to vote from home and was excited to be able to exercise her right to vote for the first time.  

Sophomore, Anna Hagner said she was glad to vote, but was ready to look forward to the future.

“I was really excited to vote this year but now I would just like the election to be over,” Hagner said in an interview that came before results were certified. “I hope we find out the official results soon so we can all finally move on with our lives”.  

Hilbert Women’s Soccer Players Adjust To New Protocols

The Hilbert Women’s Soccer team is having to adapt to many new changes and precautions this upcoming spring season. 

The team had to adapt many new protocols because of COVID-19, including the delay of the season, new practice times and a different schedule.  There were many new restrictions added this year because of the pandemic. 

Sophomore Amber Stuck said this season had many new changes, but she is looking forward to the spring.

“We will have probably around eight games which would be playing each team in the conference once,” Stuck said. “I think we start around March/April and it will probably be a month and a half to two months long.”

This means that the team will have a few less games than usual but will still be able to play each team at least once. 

Freshman Paige Wagner said she is happy to be seeing her teammates at all, given the circumstances.

“I expected to not even begin practicing yet this year because of COVID, so I’m glad we are able to practice,” Wagner said. “I really enjoy being on the team so far and I am excited for if and when we get to play games.”

The team is still able to practice.  They have a special sanitizing crew that sanitizes all equipment after every practice.  They practice twice a week in separate groups. 

Sophomore Macy Kisner said everyone is still getting used to the new protocols.

“Every practice, my team and I have to wear masks walking over to the field, where our temperatures are taken before every practice,” Kisner said. “We practice in groups of ten, so we stay separate from each other.”

The season does have lots of minor changes like taking temperatures before practice, creation of the sanitation crew and a different game schedule than last year. 

But, even with all these new changes put in place this year, the team seems excited and ready to play in the spring, Paige Wagner, a team captain said.

“I can’t wait see what the future holds for this team and this coming season,” Wagner said.