Arts and Entertainment Editor
Nobody expected to not return to campus after spring break last semester, but it was necessary because numerous changes had to be made to campus to keep everyone safe upon return. During the summer, staff, administrators, and faculty transformed campus so that students could be physically present in classrooms and dorms this fall.
Although campus is very different from previous semesters, Merrimack still found ways for residential students to enjoy their time while being here. The school added various outdoor tented spaces for students to use. These tents allow students to hold meetings, programming activities, eat meals, and even attend outdoor class The tents allow students to remain safe at a social distance, but at the same time, bring some kind of normalcy to campus when it comes to participating in activities.
The tents are located in Lot J, Gladstone Plaza, and there is also one located on the Labyrinth. There is programming underneath these tents every Tuesday night through the rest of the semester from the Austin Scholars and their Act programs. There is also programming every weekend as well, which is put on by both Residence Life as well as the Office of Student Involvement.
Merrimack made major changes to where students can get meals on campus. Sparkys and the Den meals have not really changed, except for the fact that they are now in a grab and go set up. Students can choose to eat inside at Sparkys or the Den. The Merrimack Food Truck is a staple at Merrimack and it is back and permanently located at Gladstone plaza for meal options. Mindful Mack, which is located within the hockey rink, is also another option that serves stir-fry for lunch weekly. The Lot J tent is a newly added location where people can get daily lunch and dinner. There students can often get barbecue-style foods as well as general comfort food options. There is also a pizza eatery opening up in the McQuade Libraryin the coming weeks.
Apart from new spaces for students to utilize, Merrimack is also offering various activities for students to participate in, located both in the St. Claire Court area as well as in front of the Townhouses there are fire pits for students.. The addition of these fire pits allows students a safe place to converse with each other. The Office of Student Involvement also offers consistent programming opportunities on the weekends to keep students busy. So far many of these programs have been craft-related. OSI is also hosting movie nights on Saturdays where students can sit in Duane Stadium and watch a movie on a giant projector screen.
As the semester continues, Merrimack will add many more places to safely meet and eat as well as opportunities for students to be involved in the campus culture despite the global pandemic.