Welcome, first-years! And sophomores who have never been to campus. And students of all years who spent last semester remote.

At the time of writing, we still have a few COVID-19 guidelines left, yet your presence in classrooms, in dorms, and across the river signals something all of us have been waiting for: Campus is returning to normal. Sort of. 

We can’t return to the way things were.

There aren’t enough students who remember what UR’s culture used to be. First-years and sophomores have never had a non-COVID-19 semester. Many sophomores have not been on campus, ever, and have just arrived for the first time. For sophomores and juniors, most of our college experience has been during the pandemic. Not to mention, many policies that came about or became relevant due to COVID-19 are here to stay, like checking in for an event on CCC.

Juniors and seniors are the only ones who remember what campus was like, and even those memories are incomplete. The isolation we felt for the past year made participating in co-curriculars seem more daunting than it should be. The last school year was awful for many of us, but we are rebuilding our campus culture from the ground up.

There are events to attend, people to see, places to visit — now, more than ever, making the choice to do is vital to your college experience, and to that of everyone on campus. There are events to plan, too, not just to attend. We have a loose blueprint on the way things were, and we can only improve from an event held on Zoom. For those of you who haven’t gotten involved yet on campus outside of academics, maybe this is the time to try. It may not seem as easy as that, especially if it’s been months since a club (or anything beyond just getting by) was on your mind at all, but if there is an organization you think could be improved, why not be part of that change? 

So, take the advice you will hear over and over again during your college career, and get involved. Attend that General Interest Meeting. Go watch that dance performance. Go to the Activities Fair and wander around. Maybe even pick up a flyer or two. Do something entirely new, even if you hate it. That transition back to a lively, spirited campus is in your hands.

Here are some resources to help you get started: The Activities Fair is on Friday, Aug. 27, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. This isn’t just for first-years; it’s also a chance for older students to reconnect with a campus that has been disjointed for too long. If you don’t want to do that, ask your RA, your advisor, or your friends what activities they know about. And if worst comes to worst, there’s always CCC. (Or, if you want an online resource that is actually operable, check out the Campus Times website for information on University life, both on and off-campus. CT does our best to cover student organizations and their programs, and if you think we can do better, join us and make that happen.)

Campus is never going back to the way it was. It’s unlikely that any part of the world will. Like every other campus recovering from COVID-19, we will figure out what to keep, what to discard, and what to reimagine.

The Editorial Board is a weekly Opinions article representing the view of the Campus Times, co-written by Editor-in-Chief Hailie Higgins, Publisher Ethan Busch, Managing Editors Corey Miller-Williams and Olivia Alger, and Opinions Editor Alyssa Koh.

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