During the early stages of Covid-19, Young Hall was one of the residencies that experienced drastic changes due to the social distancing mandate. Once known as an active and social dorm, it became a place of single occupancy living where students only became familiar with the upper half of their fellow residents’ faces. Outdoor activities were severely limited, and the camaraderie of the hall suffered because of it.
“Doing any sort of event or activity was hard. There was a downturn in a sense of community and belonging,” said resident director of Young Hall, Chip Pitkin.
As the campus transitions into more normalcy with the start of the fall 2021 semester, the new residents of Young and volleyball lovers alike are taking up the courts again and bringing new life into the once low-energy hall. Every Sunday at 2:00, students gather at the Young court to play volleyball, unwind, and have fun. To most participants, it is more than just a game.
“I love the fact that all these different people that usually wouldn’t be hanging out with each other are coming together,” said fourth year student Brennan Ernst, a regular at the Sunday matches.
David Sawada, resident of Young Hall, said, “It’s a good escape from life and everything going on.”
Abel Haynes, a current RA in Young Hall said, “It’s a good community and everybody is welcoming.”
The court was fully restored to its former glory after junior Young resident Bri Seidler requested more sand be put on the courts after experiencing an injury during one of the afternoon games. Seidler dove for the ball and was met with an unpleasant surprise when her knee made contact with the cement ground that lay underneath the sand. She was left with a deep gash. With the interest of others in mind, Seidler immediately contacted her RD.
“I was on caf lane and I saw my RD sitting at a table and I showed him my knee. I asked him what could be done so nobody else gets hurt,” said Bri Seidler.
Chip Pitkin did not hesitate to fulfill her request. Within the next week, piles of fresh sand were smoothed over the beloved court. As the semester progresses, the energy of Young Hall continues to grow.
“The volume is always turned up to 11 at Young hall. It’s like the friend’s house you always want to hang out at,” said Pitkin.
Although this time last year faced its many challenges in regards to following Covid guidelines, Pitkin believes that this semester has been extraordinarily positive. He’s observed that people are learning to not take things for granted. The residents are just grateful to be around each other. Now more than ever, people are hungry for activity, hence why the weekly volleyball matches are so widely appreciated.
“There’s so many things to be anxious about. Play is a good outlet for all of us,” said Pitkin.
During the heart of the pandemic, it was difficult to see when life would begin to feel normal again. The volleyball court down at Young has provided a way for students to lean into community and celebrate being together.
By: Camden Painton