Bulldog Blog

News and Views from the University of Redlands

‘Unprecedented and strange’: U of R students confront the unexpected

Residential students, including Keylana Jenkins ’22 (above), say early goodbyes to the Redlands campus in March. © Terry Pierson/Orange County Register/SCNG via ZUMA Press

In response to the developing COVID-19 pandemic, on March 16 the University of Redlands announced a decision to close all Redlands campus residential communities and move the remainder of the semester's classwork online. In the midst of moving and saying premature goodbyes, members of the Maroon and Grey Student Ambassadors took time to talk about how they were feeling and to offer words of encouragement. Maroon and Grey supports the goals of the Advancement Division and U of R’s mission by developing relationships within the University and greater community.

“The last few weeks on campus have been really unprecedented and strange,” said Alex Hyland ’20, a global business and international relations major who is president of Maroon and Grey. “I've been very bummed with not having my four years here wrapped up with a pretty bow at the Commencement ceremony like every other class has had. But I know that the decisions the University has made have been with the wellness of the students and at the forefront of their mind.

“I look back fondly on my four years and think that because of this I have a really unique connection to the University,” continued Hyland. “The support I've seen from my friends, my professors, and administrators I know has been overwhelming, and I am grateful for every minute I've had with them. I'm excited to come back and give back in the future.”

McKenna Kirmsse ’21, who is majoring in religious studies as well as communication sciences and disorders, spoke to the importance of the impromptu ceremonies that students came up with in the face of the crisis. Kirmsse and her Kappa Pi Zeta sorority sisters took the initiative to plan a celebration of the seniors among them who were ending their time at the University.

Offering words of encouragement, she said, “I am fortunate enough to live close by, so I have the support I need, but I’m sending my love out to those who may not have that close connection. I think this is really a time to show everybody compassion and just remember to laugh every day because that's what we need.”

Associated Students of the University of Redlands President Jacob Miner ’20, a music performance (flute) major, acknowledged his disappointment with the situation, while recognizing that the moment was just the beginning of his commitment to the University as an alumnus.

“I'm a bit crushed, truthfully,” he admitted. “But I had a ceremony with my fraternity as well as with the [diving] team to send off our seniors. Those will be, in a way, more memorable than our traditional Commencement that we had anticipated. I am a little bit hurt right now having to say 'bye' to so many of my peers and colleagues and faculty so fast. But I know that this is the start of my longtime service to this University.”

Learn more about University of Redlands student affairs, Maroon and Grey Student Ambassadors, and the University’s response to COVID-19 across all of its schools and campuses.