In light of the Coronavirus, almost every aspect of life has been affected in some way, one of them being the inability to be indoors in groups. Being outside in open spaces is much safer than being enclosed indoors in terms of spreading the virus. Due to this people have been altering their lifestyles, moving from inside to outside.
On Lehigh University’s campus there are strict rules for people living on campus about indoor gatherings. People cannot have others over in their dorm rooms and common indoor spaces have a low maximum capacity, so as far as hanging out and meeting people, the majority of that has to happen outside. The gym has been recently closed for example, forcing students to adapt to running or exercising outside.
The weather has been nice and students as well as others in the community have been taking advantage.
“I’ve never really been a fan of the outdoors but I have found myself going outside a lot more, even just like going for walks during the day to get out because all of my classes are online and it’s a good break in the day” said Kelly Heaphy ‘22.
Since she is a fully remote student, Heaphy does not have access to any of the academic buildings and does not have in person class. While during a different time Heaphy may have opted for doing her work in the library or having friends over to her apartment, she now often utilizes Lehigh’s lawns to meet up with people or have picnics together and does work on the outdoor tables that are scattered around campus.
“It has really forced me to get creative and branch out from what I have done in the past. I definitely spend a lot more time on planned activities. I’ve gone kayaking, which I had never done before and have been going on walks, or even just do work outside now,” Heaphy said.
There are many different opportunities for students to take advantage of the outdoors during this time. People can bike, hike, garden, run, kayak, or even get away for the weekend and take a trip camping. Many possibilities are open on campus and in the surrounding area. The Greenway bike and walking path is frequently used for running and has a garden community space along it. Campus has ample green spaces to enjoy before the weather gets too cold, and a short ways off campus there are many hiking spots as well as some camping.
While people may not be able to congregate in indoor groups anymore, there are still ways for them to get similar social interaction outside. People have been finding what works best for them and adapting to the new normal.