Students get day off classes to “recharge”

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Screen shot by Beth Beaudry

Beth Beaudry, Student Life Editor

While trying to balance mid-semester stress and additional anxiety that COVID-19 has caused, students asked for — and received — a much needed day off.

On Oct. 12, university President Steven Kaplan announced in an email that a “re-charge day” was to be held on Oct. 15, where all classes would be canceled for that day.

“I hope everyone will use this day to relax and rejuvenate yourself for the remainder of the fall semester,” said Kaplan.

Kaplan said that the Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) presented the idea to him. USGA president Sofia Martinez explained that at the USGA retreat, there was an open forum with Kaplan, where many students asked for a mental health day.

“Of course, going online for the rest of this week will have its own set of difficulties for individuals, but after witnessing many students on all types of platforms echoing the same sentiment of comfortability and safety, I believe it will ease many of our minds,” said Martinez.

Along with having no classes, the university hosted a food truck festival for lunch and dinner. For lunch, the food trucks were Spuds Your Way, Lobster Tails. Ted’s Steamed Burgers, Fryborg, and Taste of Grill. For dinner, students could choose from Chef Truck, Liberty Rock Tavern, Spuds Your Way, Lobster Tails, and Los Mariachis on Wheels.

During the normal school week, there are two food trucks for lunch, and two for dinner.

“I really liked the food truck event today. The people running the food trucks were very nice and courteous,” said senior forensics science major Michaela Sullivan.

With the increase in vendors, the food trucks had to park in various locations on campus, ranging from behind Dunham Hall to in front of Bethel. Between online classes and the distance between the food trucks, there was a decrease in physical activity on campus. Martinez said that this was in hope that students would receive a “mental break of the worry of being physically present on campus right now.”

However, with the closure of the Marketplace dining hall, along with the excitement of having a variety of free food trucks, the dinner lines grew quickly. Sullivan noticed that it was difficult to social distance at some of the food trucks. University workers consistently walked through the lines, asking students to better distance themselves.

Faculty also gave out goodie bags filled with snacks. There was also free ice cream at the Bixler/Gerber quad and the Maxcy seal.

Senior biology major Winter Shymko enjoyed the food trucks, but said that, like Sullivan, she hopes to see more vegetarian and vegan options on the next “Re-Charge Day.”

USGA also emailed out a virtual care package. Martinez offered ideas on games to play such as Among Us, ScreamGoHero, or even using Zoom to play Pictionary with friends. She posted links to the university’s streaming service, Charger Channel and SomeGoodNews, the Youtube channel created by “The Office” actor John Krasinski. Martinez included “Re-Charge Day” bingo, GIF challenges, and a “this or that” game. Many students participated in the activities and posted them to their Instagram stories, tagging the USGA Instagram.

“No matter what “battles” we may be fighting for right now, I know that we may be tired as students right now- as citizens, leaders, family, and advocates,” said Martinez. “Through this exhaustion, I hope we remember to also care for ourselves and our well-being.”

Kaplan said that he is planning a second “Re-Charge Day” for Nov. 3.

“I look forward to the next ‘Re-Charge Day.’ It was sweet of the university to give us a break, which we definitely needed,” said Shymko.