Welcome to The Squirrel’s Scoop—The Clerk’s weekly news bulletin. The Squirrel’s Scoop brings you the biggest stories from the past week in one place.
COVID Update: Restrictions to Remain for Now, but Not For Long?
In a long and detailed email on Friday, March 18th, Vice President of the College Jesse Lytle informed the community about a variety of COVID-19 updates–some for the present and others for the future. The first focus of the email is testing, as Lytle announces that students are required to test for COVID-19 between Monday, March 21st and Thursday, March 24th. Lytle explains why Haverford is requiring testing for a second week in a row, stating that it is the result of “emerging data from other college campuses reflecting a pattern of COVID spread during the week following return from break.”
Lytle goes on to address the topic of masking and gatherings. He noted that the rules that he listed will be in place for about two weeks, at which point the College will reassess yet again. The policies listed include a maximum of two people eating in the DC, required masks in residence halls and classrooms, the prohibition of parties and indoor social gatherings, and the ability to unmask if all are compliant in small group workspaces.
Finally, the email addresses the future of COVID-19 policies at Haverford. Lytle prefaces this section of the email by declaring that the way we think about the pandemic has evolved since March of 2020. He reminds students of the various ways in which we now know that we can mitigate the risks for severe COVID-19 illness. Thus, Lytle continues: “With the above factors in mind, we anticipate that individuals will be increasingly able to manage their own COVID risk.” Therefore, except in the case of new and dangerous variants, he informs the community that “Haverford will likely take less of an active role in directly managing individuals’ COVID health.” Lytle says this might look like masks becoming optional and the absence of testing asymptomatic students.
Lytle ends the email by encouraging open community conversations surrounding the topic of COVID-19 and mitigation strategies on campus: “We wish to put forward these ideas now in order to invite everyone to imagine a future Haverford under changed circumstances, and to invite open conversations on campus, among friends, peers, and co-workers, about how exactly we would like to experience Haverford together as a residential learning community in an age when COVID may be endemic, and all that our being together in this enterprise entails.”
Students Awarded $600 HEERF III Grant from the College
On Wednesday, March 9th, an email from the Director of Accounting, Frank Wilson, alerted students that the American Rescue Plan passed by President Biden included money for institutions of higher education to award to their students to “ensure learning continues during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The email informed students that everyone enrolled at the start of the Spring 2022 semester would be receiving $600. They were also asked to fill out a form by March 31st in order to receive their grant by the end of April.
With $600 on the way, many students are making plans to use the money. Across campus, there is a wide variety of planned uses for the grants. William Harris ‘24 plans to be practical, telling the Clerk, “I will be using my HEERF III Funds to go towards housing for my internship this summer. The $600 I’m receiving should cover about a month and a half of rent at the Haverford College Apartments, so it’ll really help a lot.” Luke Sheppard ‘24 thinks differently, declaring, “I’m getting a tattoo.”
Customs Applications Open
About three weeks ago, Maxwell Mondress ‘23 and Janani Suresh ‘23 were selected as the new Customs Co-heads, and now, they have announced the new model for Customs 2022. In an email sent on March 4 to all students, Suresh described the goals of next fall’s program: “This year’s Customs Program emphasizes community building; the meaning and impact of the Honor Code on daily life; and a deep and sustained engagement with equity, inclusion, and accessibility as not only ideas, but actions as well.”
Mondress discussed his hope for the new Customs model: “I think it’s been a rocky few years for the orientation program and we have the opportunity to learn from it. I know so many students are looking for new opportunities to build community and connect with one another and I hope they apply!”
Along with the determination of a new model for Customs come the applications to play a role in leading the program. In the same March 4th email, Suresh invited sophomores and juniors to apply to be on the Customs Committee. According to Suresh, members of the committee will “play a part in planning and leading Customs week and designing the yearlong Customs curriculum.” Applicants who are selected will begin serving immediately and hold their positions through the end of the 2022-2023 academic year.
In a March 22 email, Suresh invited students to apply for the two on-hall roles: Customs Facilitator and First Year Residential Student Leader. These roles are paid and last through the entire 2022-23 academic year, reflecting a culmination of student protests and revisions to the program.
Students Prepare for Spring Plenary
This Sunday, students will gather for Spring Plenary. Final resolutions were due last night, March 22, at 5 PM, and Plenary packets will be distributed this Friday. With a few resolutions on the agenda, student leaders are optimistic about the event.
“We look forward to seeing everyone this weekend for Spring Plenary!” says Honor Council Co-head Sophia Kaplan ’23. Kaplan stresses the importance of the annual event: “The yearly ratification of the Honor Code is our chance to come together to rearticulate and reaffirm our commitment to common communal promises and values – to put trust in our peers, to show concern and compassion for members of our community, and to treat each other with respect.”
Students’ Council Co-head Sam Aronson looks forward to the particular motions students have made this spring. “I am excited for the important conversations surrounding issues relating to accessibility, campus safety, and the alcohol policy, as well as the ratification of the Honor Code,” says Aronson. He adds: “We have worked hard to make sure that this is a meaningful event that is respectful of our time as students, so please attend and encourage your friends to do so as well. We will also have Waffles!”
Haverfest Theme Will Be Rodeo
Get ready to giddy up and hoe down at Haverfest this May. The theme, which is Rodeo, was chosen by the Haverfest Committee and was recently announced to the student body. The committee, headed by Lara Deuber ’23 and Blythe McWhirter ’23, is responsible for planning activities, food, and music for the weekend-long event.
McWhirter describes how the group chose the theme: “We decided this theme by holding a vote within Haverfest Committee, based on our options. There was overwhelming support for Rodeo, which we were incredibly excited about, being from Atlanta and Dallas respectively.”
The theme isn’t just for aesthetics. McWhirter explains how she hopes the theme can speak to student body members: “This is also a fantastic opportunity for us to explore the relatively unspoken, diverse history of rodeo and cowboys in the United States – examples being black cowboys, vaqueros, and the International Gay Rodeo Association. Weaving this lesser-known history into Haverfest 2022 should make for an exciting, inclusive, and overall super fun weekend for all.”