Pacific faculty, staff, and administrators held a virtual Boxer Family Town Hall on Sunday, January 3 to allow students and their families to take a closer look into what all the facets of life on campus will look like for students this term. Led by moderator and Associate Director and Events Coordinator for Undergraduate Admissions Gina Lee, the town hall covered a wide array of hot topics and answered countless burning questions lingering after the unusual events of fall term. Lee began the online gathering by introducing the large panel of presenters, which included such notable attendees as Dean Sarah Phillips and Interim Dean of Students Lindsay Blem, who gave a brief introduction into the subjects of discussion for the meeting.

The overview of the presentation included a list of matters that included, among others, a general preview of the semester, upcoming events and opportunities for students and families, COVID-19 updates, and Pacific’s current plan for commencement. Dean Phillips then took the floor and discussed what important spring semester dates will look like in light of  Pacific’s new COVID-19 testing capacity. “We are having spring break on our originally-defined spring break dates,” said Phillips, “That’s for a lot of reasons. One is that we have gotten better at managing students returning to campus and managing student testing.” Phillips also mentioned that Pacific will be hosting “…alternative activities around campus” in hopes that students do not feel the need to travel during spring break. 

Phillips went on to mention that Pacific has “received between 700-800 rounds of vaccines” and that they have been distributed to those on campus deemed eligible in the state of Oregon, namely frontline healthcare workers. Phillips said that faculty and students who work in clinics at Pacific were the ones to receive vaccines per state guidelines for distribution and vaccine eligibility.

A tone shift ensued after the conclusion of the COVID-19-related updates of the meeting had concluded and opportunities for student activities within the semester became one of the main focuses. This term, Pacific is offering support service events such as “BIPOC Let’s Talk,” which Area Coordinator for Cascade Hall and Vandervelden Court Andra Dennis said is a “dedicated place for Students of Color to be with each other, really express their experiences, and get support from each other.” Dennis also mentioned activities for students that included an Outdoor Pursuits Snow Day Trip to Mount Hood on February 28, the Lunar New Year Celebration from January 29 to February 12, and a virtually-streamed campus screening event that is currently being put together by Residence Life staff. Lisa Aiello, also of Residence Life, commented that the 2021-2022 Housing Lottery will take place this term as planned, with students submitting their room and meal preference early next month. “We will email instructions for that to all students the week of March 1,” said Aiello, “Our website will also have video instructions which are super helpful.”

As Pacific forges on through this uncertain semester, more detailed updates and decisions on campus events, housing accommodations, and class statuses are expected. — Isabelle Williams

Photo: Pacific administrators hosted a Boxer Town Hall on January 3 to discuss COVID-19 vaccine distribution on campus, spring break plans, and the upcoming spring semester, among many other things (Isabelle Williams)

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Isabelle Williams is a sophomore at Pacific University who is majoring in Journalism and minoring in Theatre. She is from Astoria, Oregon, and enjoys writing political opinion pieces.

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