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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Covid’s impact on celebrations for class of 22′


Loyola’s class of 2022 ended with surprise online exams, due to the rise in Covid cases, but students were able to celebrate their graduation in person with friends and family. For the most part, the school year ended with social events unhindered by the pandemic and its protocols that loomed over students for the past two years.

When students arrived at Loyola last September, an indefinite mask mandate and strict Covid precautions laid out by the city and university left many seniors worried their final year would be nothing more than online events. Unknown to most seniors though, the Student Government Association (SGA) and their faculty advisors were working tirelessly to give them something to be excited about.

Associate Vice President for External Affairs Joann Flynn is the chair of the Rapid Response Team (RRT) at Loyola. It is a group of faculty that initially met every day, then biweekly, to decide Covid protocols based on the current state of the university and the guidelines created by the city of Baltimore.

Flynn said, “People [Scalzo and SGA] were really great about trying to find ways to have some type of opportunity for events.” Flynn added Scalzo and SGA were aware that college is “not just your academic experience, it’s your whole university-wide social experience.”

Student Body President Claire Chevalier and the rest of SGA worked with Director of Student Engagement Sarah Scalzo for the past year to try to give seniors, as well as underclassmen, the on-campus experiences they deserved. One of their major goals was to give seniors the 50 days events that are a long-standing tradition at Loyola.

Every 50 days leading up to graduation, the senior class comes together for food and drinks to celebrate the time they have spent together and savor the time they have left. This year there were numerous roadblocks in the way of giving the class of 22’ those milestones.

There were only two official 50 days events this past academic year. The first one, in October, happened with little issue and gave seniors the chance to spend time outside on the quad together. The next event suffered more from the Covid guidelines. The requirement to be outside during a sub-40 degree, dark November night, gave seniors little hope for future events.

Chevalier said, “It’s certainly been a struggle and a frustration but there are certain times I’m just grateful we can do something.”

The rest of the 50 days events would have fallen victim to the same cold, dark circumstances as the last, so SGA pivoted to focus its efforts on other things they could give students.

Many of the issues with events this year came from the understanding of SGA’s budget. Chevalier acknowledges that the Covid guidelines were fair and that she tried to work within them to still make events happen, but she often felt unsupported.

“It’s difficult because they don’t give the budget for all the costs you incur for having all these rules,” said Chevalier. “Things that they never had to pay for like heaters and lights and tents they now have to pay for. There was never the money in the budget for that before.”

Many seniors voiced displeasure with the events they were given and the work done by SGA and faculty. Fewer students have tried to learn about the complicated process that it takes to give students these experiences.

SGA tried to navigate the difficult situation and Scalzo and her department did what they could to support their efforts. As the year went on, money from other sources and departments within the school became available and provided new opportunities.

Some of that money was used to book Two Friends for Loyolapalooza this year, which is the most expensive act Palooza has ever had. Some of the cost of the senior Oriole’s game and Senior Soiree tickets were subsidized by the school. This is also the first time Soiree was held at the Armiger house.

“We wanted to make sure that they [SGA] understood we would be their fiercest advocates and allies,” said Scalzo. “There was a lot of fighting behind the scenes to make sure senior events were given the chance to happen at all”

In the face of all of this, SGA and their faculty advisors worked hard to give the class of 22’ as close to a non-pandemic senior year as they could and tried to show underclassmen what they have to look forward to during the rest of their time at Loyola.

Chevalier said, “I genuinely care so much for the class of 2022’. I’m proud of what we’ve done with all the circumstances.”

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Covid’s impact on celebrations for class of 22′