Disconnecting to Reconnect: Students Come Face-To-Face for Fall Hybrid Classes

  • Five students wearing masks sitting around a table.

    The Campus Store Complex was open with shopping and food options. Photo by Lee Choo

  • Returning senior Ryan Rimando said he was happy to be able to interact with his peers at CSUN. Photo by Lee Choo

  • students wearing masks on walkway

    Students walk across campus on the first day off fall 2021 weekday classes, Aug. 30. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • two people in masks waving at camera

    New transfers Dulce Orantes and Joe Flores explore campus on the first day of fall semester. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • Three people playing volleyball with an oversized ball.

    Members of Every Nation Campus, a club at CSUN, play volleyball with passing students. Photo by Lee Choo

  • Two men with canes

    Seniors Micah Jadarien Moore and Rafael Quevedo dance with their Kappa Alpha Phi canes on campus. Photo by Lee Choo

  • Three female students wearing masks.

    Transfer students Sierra Salazar and Natalie Rodriguez, along with returning student Joanna Wu, take a walk during a break from class. Photo by Lee Choo

  • Several students walking with Sierra Tower in background

    Campus walkways were populated with more students than had been on campus for several months. Photo by Lee Choo

  • Three people in red Matadors Forward shirts

    Matador Forward Ambassadors were available to help students navigate campus and answer questions. Photo by Lee Choo

For the first time in 18 months, groups of CSUN students wandered through campus’ maze of walkways their way to class, Monday, Aug. 30.

The university, which had gone primarily online in March 2020, opened its doors to a more hybrid semester with approximately 50 percent of classes having an on-campus component, increasing the population on campus significantly.

For returning students, campus is a mix of familiar and new.

Senior Ryan Rimando was happy to be back playing volleyball with a club on Sierra lawn.

“It feels great seeing all of these people around for once,” he said.

Micah Jadarien Moore and Rafael Quevedo, both returning seniors, remembered the years before the COVID-19 pandemic fondly, saying that though they were happy to be back, they missed how busy campus was in past years.

“It’s a whole new vibe, a whole new energy. It’s really, like, unexplainable,” Moore said.

Though he acknowledged that it was different, Quevedo was excited to study and interact again with classmates – without a screen between them. This was echoed by many students, both returning and new.

“Being online for nearly a year and a half was really rough,” said returning junior Joanna Wu. ”And coming back to something familiar is really nice.”

Though transfer students, Dulce Orantes and Joe Flores, had come to check out campus over the summer, they were still excited to explore.

“It feels really great [to be here],” Flores said. “Being able to walk around everywhere, it is a whole different feeling than being online.”

“I feel more motivated to get my schoolwork done,” said Orantes. “Everyone is doing their own thing, but they are not afraid to interact with others and make new friends, which is really important as a new transfer – especially coming out of quarantine.”

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