By Brady Cote
Build the Bridge, organized by Ari Susi and Nora Fitzgerald, was an in-person forum that allowed students who wished to attend a chance to voice any questions regarding this semester.
The public forum took place under the tent on the Reed green where the students’ questions would be answered by President Mary-Beth A. Cooper, alongside members of the President’s Leadership Team. The PLT is composed of the College’s vice presidents and Board of Trustees.
The Build the Bridge forum brought up a multitude of different questions and concerns of the students regarding overflow in parking lots, covid restrictions, covid testing, as well as when the next forum would be.
If the students did not feel comfortable speaking, there was a paper on every table under the tent with a qr code so that questions could be submitted anonymously to both Susi and Fitzgerald to be asked.
Many of the questions regarded restrictions about Covid-19 and the mask mandate that has been put in place within recent weeks.
In response, the PLT stated that Springfield College is following the mandate because it is required by law and that the updated decision will be made by the City of Springfield on Nov. 1.
Springfield College has statistically been better about Covid cases this semester as compared to last year, yet the trend of spreading the virus is the same. The main reason for the spread of the virus is not within the classroom, however, it can be linked to gatherings and athletic teams because they are like families. Being such, the athletes see each other daily and spend a lot of time together.
Another main topic toward the end of the forum was Thanksgiving break and if testing would be offered to students both before departure and after when they return to Alden Street. Students asked this question and stated that people will indeed be traveling to go home and see extended family for the holiday. Students want to feel safe and have a sense of security before they travel to see family and friends as well as return back to school.
Unfortunately, some other topics did not have an accurate answer ready, although the PLT ensured the audience that future answers will be discussed and prioritized. These topics included: off-campus guests, maskless service at the Union, overflow parking, spotty wifi on campus, and a possible pop-up vaccination event.
The PLT stressed that they meet three times a week and communicate all questions, comments, and concerns of those provided by students, faculty, and others on campus daily.
Any questions that were not answered or were sent at a later time will have written responses via email to those who asked.
As the Build the Bridge forum had great success, it was stated that there will be a forum at least once a semester, for it is good to be in constant communication, said the PLT.