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Cautious optimisim

| Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Notre Dame’s announcement to let students attend football games was one that I looked at with cautious optimism, the same way I’ve looked at most campus announcements over the last few weeks. Optimistic because it meant I could go to the games, cautious because I knew there must be a catch.

“Students will only be grouped with their rooming assignments. Those who are in single occupancy rooms or whose roommates do not purchase will be seated as singles.” And there it is — the catch.

Once again, students living in singles are forced to choose between going to an event that is inherently community-based by themselves or finding an alternative way to spend time with friends, missing out on a college experience that is already a shell of what it should be.

This isn’t like the opening mass or the “Rudy” screening, though. This is different. This is my senior year football season. The football season that I looked forward to more than any other. My friends who studied abroad in the fall and missed last season are back, I get to throw marshmallows and I get to be closer to the 50-yard line than I’ll probably ever be again in my life. All of this is contingent on whether I’m willing to gamble $200 on the odds that I’ll end up sitting next to one of my friends, or at the very least someone I know. Because let’s face it, it’s senior year. Everyone knows who they’re going to the games with by senior year.

The worst part: Two years ago when students were signing contracts to live off-campus, the University implemented a new incentive program for students to stay on campus. This waived the single fee, offered free laundry and provided a few other benefits as well. I’m grateful for all of these benefits. They are part of what kept me on campus, along with friends, convenience and a sense of community. The University wanted seniors to stay on campus, and that’s what I’m doing. And now I’m being punished for it.

Ultimately, it was my choice to live in a single. But what about the students that didn’t get that choice? The students in the dorms who are forced into singles? Or the first years whose roommates weren’t able to make it to campus because of COVID-19? What about the resident assistants, serving in leadership roles on campus? Did any of these groups choose this?

And I wonder if the University has considered the alternatives. A large portion of students living in singles are seniors, meaning they are probably 21. While no tailgating is permitted, what is to stop these students from going out to watch the games? They’re able to be together that way, something that has been in short supply the last few weeks.

I’m not asking to be seated with my entire friend group. I’m simply asking for one friend, or maybe two or three friends. You know, a household.


Gabrielle Biltz


Aug. 31

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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