Campus after COVID: Then vs. Now

By: Gracie King | Feature Editor

Photo Source: Michael Dunn | Staff Photographer

Students returning to classes this semester after nearly a year of online instruction may not recognize some new modifications brought about during COVID-19. Though the pandemic is still an ongoing issue for the University, many programs and departments have gone through some serious renovations to make campus a better place for students.

Probably the most notable addition is Hancock Whitney Stadium, which started construction in 2018. Though the stadium first opened its gates last football season in 2020, many freshmen and sophomores are just now getting the opportunity to walk around it in awe, as capacity restrictions have been lifted. 

“Capacity inside the stadium as it stands today is still 25,450. No changes to that as of yet, hopefully, that doesn’t change,” USA Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities and Event Operations Jermaine Williams said (Lisa Librenjak, WPMI). 

The Student Recreation Center has been serving South’s fitness needs since 2010 and the department is committed to bettering itself from the inside out. As COVID-19’s impacts are still affecting students’ mental health, the professional staff intends for the SRC to be a place where students can relax, explore their community, and achieve well-rounded health and wellness. 

“Showing students ways to temporarily separate themselves from the stressors in their lives by offering a whole range of wellness activities will have a positive and demonstratable impact on their overall mental, emotional, and physical well-being,” said the SRC Director, Brian Allred. 

Like most of the departments on campus, the SRC continues to face difficulties regarding keeping students safe, maintaining COVID education and protocols, and adapting their disinfection methods. 

“We have worked closely with USA leadership, Dr. Julie Estis, and other members of USA’s COVID Response Team to ensure our students have a healthy fitness center that embraces the value of overall wellness even during these challenging times,” said  Allred when asked how the pandemic is still currently affecting the SRC. 

COVID-19 still represents a very real concern to students and faculty alike. Though lifted restrictions and first-of-the-semester activities are enticing, the student body should continue to monitor themselves and take the precautionary measures that are in place seriously.