The pandemic changed the college experience for many, whether you’re a first-time or returning student. You may not have rushed a Greek sorority or fraternity like you wanted or felt as carefree with your newfound independence. Now that more people are vaccinated, socialization may be safer, but the pandemic certainly isn’t over—so it’s still important to prioritize your health and the health of others. The good news is there are plenty of ways to have fun in college while staying safe. Here are some ways to safely socialize on campus during COVID-19 so you can still enjoy the full college experience.
1. Email or call student services
College socialization during the pandemic becomes much easier simply by reaching out to your student services office. Campuses have these resources to direct students to professionals who can answer questions about finding student groups, staying safe, and keeping track of which events are coming up. Email or call your office if you’re struggling to navigate your university’s student organization website.
2. Join a virtual club
Traditional clubs moved online when quarantining began in 2020, and they’re still a significantly helpful way for students to safely socialize during the pandemic now. See which ones are open to members on your campus and join their regular Zoom meetings if they’re not meeting in person. You could cook alongside everyone and learn new recipes or chat about the latest episode of your favorite TV shows with other fans. It all depends on which clubs currently accept new members and what you could gain from attending meetings (virtual or otherwise), like making new friends or building your résumé.
3. Reserve private rooms for socializing
Even after local case counts go down, offices, universities, and public spaces will retain their safety standards and regulations for indoor gatherings. Limiting group sizes prevents the spread of COVID-19, which remains necessary until the majority of the country is vaccinated. Still, socializing indoors is possible. Look up conference rooms in your university library or academic buildings and see if you can reserve them for meeting with friends. These areas utilize digital calendars post-COVID to minimize crowd sizes while allowing people to hang out inside. Contact your friends to schedule your next study or hangout session and reserve that time on a conference room calendar to socialize without endangering your health.
4. Eat meals outside with friends
A recent collection of peer-reviewed COVID-19 transmission studies found that less than 10% of cases occurred from outdoor viral spread. Fresh, less stagnant air circulates airborne particles and makes socializing much less of a health threat. Eating meals with friends outside is a great form of safe college socialization during the pandemic, especially if you live in an area with nice weather. You can even spread out on a grassy hill if a little more distance puts your mind at ease.
5. Try outdoor fitness classes
You can also safely socialize and get moving during the pandemic by trying an outdoor fitness class. Not only are outdoor activities more COVID-safe, but they offer a variety of physical and mental health benefits. Improve your overall health and wellness with some physical activity while remaining six feet apart from other participants. You’ll meet new friends and get out of your dorm room all because you signed up for an outdoor yoga or weightlifting class.
6. Suggest common room activities
Dorm buildings and on-campus apartments often have common rooms on each floor. Although you may have to wear a mask because you’ll be inside, invite your friends over for safe activities. Listen to music or do your homework together while social distancing. You could even bring a gaming console and hook it up to the TV to see your closest friends and feel less lonely.
Figuring out how to socialize on campus during the pandemic may feel like a challenge, but all you need are a few fun, safety-conscious ideas. Use these tips to remain mindful of everyone’s health and safety while still making the most of your time in college.
Check out our COVID-19 student resources page for more articles and advice for various challenges you may be facing during the pandemic.