Joint Top Hat & Derby

Striving for the revival of student life during the Spring Semester

By Advaith Narayan and Anissa Choiniere December 12, 2020

As we near the end of the Fall semester, we want to take this opportunity to share our goals and efforts for the Spring. You may have seen our letter last week in which we expressed our disappointment in the plan to re-densify our on-campus residence halls after administrators cited the campus density as a reason to hold off opening the Mueller Center. As such, we are actively working to push for some in-person activities to occur safely in the Spring semester.

The safety of our community is the greatest priority for us all, so we want to affirm that any activities that do occur must strictly adhere to the safety guidelines, namely keeping gatherings to under 10 people, staying socially distanced, and wearing masks.

Here are a couple specific avenues which we’re pursuing:

Encouraging in-person activities: This Fall, we started conversations with administrators about encouraging safe in-person gatherings and activities on campus. However, part way through the semester, this plan was precluded by some administrators, probably due to the anxiety around the rising incidences of COVID-19 cases on campus.

The plan was to put out a series of communications to the campus community about the rules to follow if gathering with others and offer some examples of safe activities and spaces to conduct those activities. For example, tossing around a Frisbee with three friends on the field next to Commons Dining Hall with everyone socially distanced and wearing a mask would be a fun—and most importantly, safe—activity. We will push for these in-person activities in the Spring and work to identify spaces to allow gatherings indoors.

Mueller Center: Just like this past Fall semester, the Executive Board, in partnership with the Union Administrative Staff and the Mueller Center Staff, will support the safe opening and operation of the Mueller Center. We want to ensure that students are staying safe by exercising on campus, where the safety protocols are closely monitored and students will be getting regularly tested, rather than at some off-campus option. We know how important exercise is for both your physical and mental health, so we’re committed to doing everything we can to ensure the Mueller Center is operational in the Spring.

Union Operations for the Spring: Last week, the Union’s Executive Board approved operational guidelines for Union operations and procedures during the Spring semester. A document with more details will be published in the next few weeks, but highlights include making the Union’s rooms and social spaces available for groups of fewer than 10 people, bringing back club tabling, and making other Union facilities such as the Playhouse and J-Building available for student use. All of these opportunities will of course follow social distancing guidelines and require all students to wear masks.

Opening up alternative spaces on campus: Apart from just the Union, we are also advocating for spaces on campus that can be used to host clubs or other student activities. For example, a lecture hall can easily host 10 or fewer people, socially distanced and masked, for a movie night. There are classrooms that can also be utilized for such activities as well.

Although we do not make the final decision of whether to allow clubs or other student activities to take place in lecture halls and classrooms, we will certainly advocate for doing so. If you have any other ideas or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you! You can reach us at and