1 Year Later...
It's hard to believe that it has been a year since MU pressed pause on in-person learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I remember how the campus went from a bustling sea of activity to a ghost town in a matter of days. Over the course of a few weeks, the entire community changed. Social distancing and masks became standard. Uncertainty led many students to return home. Everyone installed Zoom...
In the months that followed, the HUB, like the university and local community, adapted to life with Covid. Facility changes were made. Procedures were implemented. Sanitizing and cleaning supplies were purchased. But the HUB stayed open.
Throughout the summer we continued to provide food assistance through the Campus Cupboard. We partnered with the university to launch the HUB Cares Project to support impacted MU employees with supplemental food assistance. We prepared for the fall and a new way of serving students.
In August, we resumed our Free Lunch program on Tuesdays and Thursdays. While the weather was mild we set up a canopy and served students outside in our picnic area. We increased our Campus Cupboard hours. French Toast Friday resumed.
Throughout the Fall Semester, the HUB became a space for small pods to study together safely. We served Campus Ministry groups by providing an alternate space for small gatherings. We forged a close partnership with The Process youth ministry to create spaces for remote cohort learning for high school and middle school students in the Penn Manor school community during their Blended Learning Phase.
Over Winter Break, the HUB worked with MU's Housing Staff to coordinate weekly Pizza and Take-Out meal deliveries to Residence Halls twice a week. We took the opportunity to do a deep clean of our facility and prepare for a new semester.
This Spring, we continue to serve students. Our Free Lunches serve a couple dozen students on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Each month, more than 30 students visit the Campus Cupboard to get needed food staples. Small groups of friends and roommates use the Hub's spaces to study and work on projects.
In the weeks to come, we plan to shift Free Lunch outside again and have outdoor music in the picnic area during French Toast Friday. We will continue to host and serve ministry and student groups. Along with the university, we look forward to increasing opportunities to gather safely and celebrate the graduation of many HUB students in May.
Looking back, the past year was unprecedented. But The HUB adapted and served students and took the opportunity to look ahead and prepare. MU has announced plans for a full reopening in the fall. The campus and community will return to a "new" normal. More students will mean more needs and more opportunities.
The HUB will be ready.