Celebrating Amidst Covid

Following the game against one of our biggest rivals, I want to share some ideas for how old activities can be altered to keep the traditions of campus alive, in a safer manner.

By Ellie Younger November 3, 2020
carved halloween pumpkins

With Halloween this past weekend and game days being back, there have been lots of reasons for university students to celebrate. However, it is more important than ever to keep things small and safe, as Ann Arbor has been hit hard by Covid. Celebrating in a Covid-safe way can still be just as fun, if you put some thought into it.

Game days might not look the same this year, as the streets must stay absent of crowds of people walking to the Big House. Instead, these traditions can be recreated at home – dressing up in the usual maize and blue and counting down the time until the game airs with your favorite football activities and roommates. Personally, I appreciated that I could do homework during time outs, and had water readily available after yelling at the TV.

U-M football stadium

Last year, I attended tailgates and halloween parties, but that doesn’t mean this year's plans were any worse, they were simply different. Technology gives us the opportunity to connect with friends, allowing us to have Zoom celebrations, see game day outfits on our Instagram feeds, and watch halloween movies together over shared streaming sites.

Since we do not know how long the pandemic will last, it is fair to assume that we will be celebrating many more campus activities and holidays in this way. I’m looking forward to baking holiday cookies with friends over Facetime, writing letters of gratitude to those I love, and checking out everyone’s reactions to the first major snowfall on social media. We now have the unique ability to celebrate every game day in a different way, and I’m excited to see what I enjoy the most, as well as using the tools available to us in order to connect online for various campus activities that otherwise would have been in person.

We all miss the years past, and rightly so, however for the time being the priority is to keep ourselves and each other safe. I revelled in the feeling of togetherness knowing that I had my roommates all safe and sound next to me, I appreciated coming up with new and creative ways to embrace the day, and I loved keeping the essence of the day – and dressing up just to stay in my own cozy house.

Other ideas of how to embrace being at home include creating a fantasy football league or group chat with your friends in order to talk through the events of the game. Socially distanced outdoor get togethers for holidays (once the stay home order ends), roasting marshmallows around a firepit, creating new meals or trying new foods, and dressing up for various events, all things that can help give us a semblance of normalcy in these challenging times.

carved halloween pumpkins

This year we pulled out printer paper and drew various Halloween characters to decorate our walls. We ate my roommate’s delicious apple crisp, enjoyed Spotify’s odd Halloween playlists, carved pumpkins on our kitchen table, and played games while dressed up as the characters from Winnie the Pooh. Holidays in 2020 (and beyond) will be different, but I am working to find the good within each moment, and attempting to adapt to the continual changes.

Ellie Younger

Ellie Younger is a sophomore in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and plans to study Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience. Ellie volunteers with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) and is happy to have found her U-M community in the club Survivor Michigan, for which she is an HR executive. She loves hiking in her home state of Oregon, conversations about social justice, and good poetry.