By Nathan Schmidt
Last week, Fairfield University clubs participated in the second of the semester’s two Fairfield In Focus events — not on campus, of course, but over Zoom. The online-only quarantine-safe events, which were designed to introduce incoming first year students to the many exciting student-run groups at the university, successfully conveyed everything they needed to. In fact, the events may have done their job a little too well, because the main thing students remember now is that the meetings were a giant explosion of wait times and breakout rooms.
The effort was brave by all parties involved, especially the future students of Fairfield. But surveys after the events have shown that most of the incoming first years were “somehow already exhausted” by Zoom, and “reminded of online classes at home.” In the comment box where students could suggest any changes for future iterations of Fairfield in Focus, the most common replies were in the vein of, “Please send help.” This last part has been interpreted by administration as a good sign of early acclimation, because most students on campus have been saying the same thing for the past twelve months.
One incoming student, a high school senior named Leah Smitten from probably somewhere on Long Island, even contacted the Stagnation editor-in-chief after the event. “I heard they’re going to run things in person in the fall,” she said. “But I’m also reasonably sure I’ll spend at least some of my first year quarantined in, like, a large Tupperware box. Who even needs vaccinations, right?”
Still, the overall situation is positive for Fairfield’s student organizations as a whole. Club leaders are optimistic that the Fairfield in Focus events will drum up higher participation rates among those who resign themselves to a future of Zoom calls — or else masks, social distancing, and internet connectivity issues in windswept semi-open tents.