Campus Returns for a New Year, New Hopes

When the COVID-19 pandemic overran the globe last year, Bradley students traded dorm rooms and classrooms for couches and computers. Even those who stayed on campus saw their classes switch to a remote model, limiting their outside contacts and the social side of college. 

This year, lines of vehicles ranging from sedans to SUVs and U-Haul trucks carried license plates from places like Minnesota, Texas and Iowa. They stretched out for blocks to reach campus and inched their way through nearby streets. The highlight for many of the students was a return to communal living.

“I feel like I never really experienced college my first year, so I’m excited,” said Aileen Nguyen, a second-year statistics major who had all virtual classes while on campus last fall before moving home second semester.

Andrea Groendal, a fourth-year accounting major and club soccer player, missed her friends and collaborating with others in and out of class. She anticipates “having the opportunity to get out and meet new people, hang out with old friends … With COVID, everything seemed to shut down.”

Once parked near their dorm destinations, unloading moved quicker as student-helpers from fraternities and sororities joined to help tote items ranging from game systems and furniture to bags of clothing and mini refrigerators. Nguyen even brought along her hula hoops. 

“It’s a hobby of mine,” she said. 

Others appreciated being able to serve and give back. A pair of Sigma Gamma Rho members — Malayah Johnson and third-year history/social studies high school education major Jamiah Glover — noted service and helping others was part of the organization’s motto. Johnson, a second-year music business major, said helpers at last year’s move-in were limited by COVID precautions to wiping down equipment and giving directions.

“We didn’t really have the help of others (last year),” she said. “I wanted to help where I can.”

It was fourth-year history major Daniel Frusolone’s first time helping with move-in. Stationed outside Geisert Hall, he put his college experience to good use. “I lived in Geisert my first two years so I know the process. But I’m on the other side now — helping instead of being helped.” 

And not just students, parents and helpers were tired by the move-in process. Officer Terravis Ward of the Bradley University Police Department arrived for traffic control duty after working third shift.

“I won’t get home until about 11:30 (a.m.) to get some rest.”

Some media in Bradley University's current print, video and online materials was acquired before the COVID-19 pandemic. Media acquired after the pandemic began was done so in compliance with Bradley's COVID-19 safety protocols at the time. The ongoing safety of our faculty, staff and students is of the utmost concern during these unprecedented times.