March 28, 2023

On Thursday, Oct. 22, students emerged from their dorms and classes to be met with blaring music, pop-up activities and special events galore littering the grounds of Alumni Way. A double-date break in the recent cold weather and consistent drudge of classes due to the lack of fall-break, students swarmed the area and began to participate in the new event. The event was created by Wittenberg Student Senate who coordinated with Student Involvement, the Resident Housing Association (RHA) and Union Board as a response to the cancellation of W-Day due to COVID-19.

Student Senate vice president Alexandra Joseph (’21) comments on the replacement of W-Day and the stress from COVID-19.

“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do W-Day this year because of the pandemic, but we recognize that students need an event like this to combat the stress that COVID-19 can bring,” Joseph said. “This has been a really hard semester with everything going on, so we wanted to make this event so that students feel welcome and generally just have a good time with each other.”

The event was well-attended with its various events spread throughout the area; students could participate in axe-throwing, photo booths, pumpkin carving, caricature drawings, card magic, balloon art, inflatable slides and tarot card readings. For every activity students participated in, they received a raffle ticket in which they could try to receive a variety of prizes, including a smart TV, Apple AirPods, an Apple Watch, a goodie basket full of various candy and t-shirts.

“Personally, I think this event is going a lot smoother than W-Day has in the past,” Ryan Hensley (’23) said. “Before, you had to stand in these ridiculously long lines in order to get a ticket which you would then have to stand in an equally long line to get a t-shirt. But because they’re trying to limit the spread of coronavirus, you can just put your name down saving your spot in line and go to other places as you wait.”

While the Fall Festival provided a moment of levity for the student body, it also came at a time when Clark County has been marked as a possible Level Four infection zone, the highest level of COVID-19 restrictions. This was only magnified by the lack of precautionary measures taken by certain attendees at the event, by their disregard of mask-wearing and lack of social distancing. While members of the greater Springfield community attended the event, even some of them failed to abide by the COVID-19 precautionary measures. This included one of the advertised activities of the event, Michael Griffin, who ran the magician’s stand without a mask for nearly half of the event.

Michael Griffen, an escape artist and magician, preforms without a mask on at Wittenberg University’s Fall Festival on Oct. 22, 2020. Griffen performed maskless as Springfield and Clark County, Ohio is on “watch” for Level Four (Purple) of the State of Ohio’s Public Health Advisory System during the COVID-19 Pandemic. (Trent Sprague/The Wittenberg Torch)

 “While right now we can only really host smaller events due to trying to keep everyone safe from the pandemic, we definitely want to try and host more events in the future,” Joseph said. “We’re going to try and do W-Day in the spring, as well as WittFest, but that’s really up to the University to decide whether we’ll be able to do that. Up until then though, we’re going to continue trying to have smaller events because we couldn’t have our fall break and so we need these events where everyone can just have fun.”

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