Despite an unusual and challenging senior year, the Class of 2021 celebrated their graduation and time at the College on campus. The commencement ceremonies were separated by school and spread over three days, from May 19 to 21. Each graduate was allowed four guests, and the ceremonies were also live-streamed.
Almost a full year after their virtual graduation and parting from the College, the Class of 2020 celebrated their graduation on campus during the weekend of April 24 and 25. In order to follow Covid-19 protocols and allow each graduate to invite four guests, there were seven separate ceremonies with each academic school. The full schedule and recorded live streams can be accessed from the TCNJ Commencement website and similar ceremonies will take place from May 19 to 21 for the Class of 2021.
The College will be providing 300 Covid-19 vaccines for students, faculty, staff, alumni and family members on campus on April 26, according to an email from Janice Vermeychuk, Director of Student Health Services. This is in partnership with Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, which also provides Covid-19 testing in the Decker Social Space.
As more students are becoming eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, many colleges are considering requiring the vaccine for students to return for the fall semester. Rutgers University, which has over 71,000 students, was the first school to announce it will require a Covid-19 vaccine for all students enrolled for fall 2021. According to NPR, over a dozen colleges have followed and announced the same requirement.
On April 7, the “Man Up and Talk About It” forum provided a 90-minute dialogue for students to discuss men’s mental health, stigmas surrounding the topic and what society can do to address these issues impacting the campus community. The event was presented by Student Government (SG), Delta Epsilon Psi, Lambda Theta Phi, Lambda Upsilon Lambda (LUL), Men of Excellence, Phi Alpha Delta and co-sponsored by nine other student organizations.
On March 25, the College held its sixth annual Day of Giving. 2,049 donors consisting of alumni, staff, faculty, students, parents and friends raised over $334,000 to support the future of the College and its many programs, clubs, buildings and sports teams, the College announced in a school-wide email.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 130 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the U.S. as of March 25. As time passes and more people become eligible to receive their shot, many individuals in the campus community will be vaccinated as well.
In response to the reduction in student Covid-19 cases and easing of restrictions, the Division of Student Affairs announced a small group event series taking place every Monday and Thursday at the Brower Student Center (BSC) until the end of the semester. Events will include ping pong, DIY crafts, Bingo and more.
Although students have adjusted to remote learning, mental health is still a concern for many. It is important that students know all of the resources provided by Mental Health Services (MHS) ranging from professional counseling to educational workshops, which can help students grow individually and support their peers.
With 1139 students residing on campus, the College has seen 150 Covid-19 cases among students since the beginning of the semester. A Feb. 28 email from President Foster addressed the recent spike and warned that a shelter-in-place would be implemented if cases do not decrease in the upcoming weeks.
With 120 cases of Covid-19 in students this semester, including 67 cases over the past 10 days, President Foster expressed frustration in a Feb. 28 email reminding students to practice safe health protocols.
The mental health of college students has been significantly impacted as one year of remote learning approaches. A study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that 71% of respondents have experienced new stress or anxiety during the pandemic, and students at the College have also felt the burden of staying isolated from their campus community.