New year brings MNSU students face to face again

Minnesota State University, Mankato has returned to “normal” after a year of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Throughout the last year, MNSU has been adhering to strict guidelines recommended by the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. 

This year, incoming freshmen and current students are going to be greeted with a normal school year, including in person classes, and on campus activities. 

“I am excited to see the campus transitioning back in preparation for a face-to-face semester.” said newly appointed President Edward Inch in an email sent out to students and faculty at MNSU. 

While the transition back to a normal semester is underway, the president still pushes for the campus community to receive a vaccine. 

“We also encourage you to get the vaccine if you have not had it yet so that we can enjoy all of the campus activities we love more quickly,” said Inch. 

One notable change for students on campus involved the removal, then reinstatement of the mask mandate for any face to face, indoor activities. The reinstatement was due in large part to increased numbers of COVID-19 cases. 

According to the CDC data tracker, Blue Earth County currently has roughly 50 percent of residents fully vaccinated. 

For incoming freshmen living in the dorms, many of last year’s restrictions will be lifted, including room capacity and kitchen restrictions. 

Homecoming is another large indicator of normalcy on campus. 

The homecoming concert will, as of now, go on as normal, with the artist chosen by Student Activities being Jesse McCartney. 

“From a students perspective, an alumni’s perspective, or even the public’s perspective, it is going to be pretty close to normal.” said Bill Tourville, the assistant director of campus planning at MNSU. 

Homecoming, traditionally a week-long event with several activities for students including a lip sync battle, a concert and parade, all culminating in the football game on Saturday.

The lip sync battle, being a huge event where various student organizations create a team to compete with other organizations to create a choreographed dance. Tourville says the battle historically is the most attended event of homecoming, and also his favorite. 

“It’s students at their best, at their brightest,” said Tourville, “the screams are huge, the laughter is massive and it is just a really fun time.”

AJ Root Madsen, a senior at MNSU, is optimistic for next year being back on campus, after a year of school from home. 

“Last year was really nerve wracking,” said the senior, “Face-to-face contact is essential to my learning.”

Root Madsen also notes her concern for the underclassmen of this academic year, as her sister will be in her second year at MNSU, but first with in-person classes. 

“We almost have two full grades who are ‘new’ and don’t know what to expect,” said Root Madsen. 

Even with her concern for her sister, Root Madsen still has the excitement for an open campus that is reflected by students of all ages at the university. 

“I missed out on so much last year that this year I want to get as involved on campus as I can,” said Root Madsen.

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