Student Life Editor
Friday, February 26, Keene State got a taste of it’s social side.
Ever since COVID-19 put the world on pause, group gatherings have been kept to a minimum. A year into the pandemic, Keene State, led by Director of Student Involvement Jessica Gagne-Cloutier, was able to bring the Winter Celebration to campus.
To make this year’s celebration obtainable, Cloutier said their goal was to “protect as much of the tradition as we can, but rethinking it for a safer event for COVID.” Cloutier said part of this was having pre-made chocolate dipped strawberries instead of a chocolate fountain.
Cloutier also said COVID precautions included, “hand-sanitizer everywhere, disinfectant spray everywhere and actually a team right now that is turning over the building and going through cleaning everything.” The sanitation team was hard at work throughout the day wiping down each organization’s table in a timely manner. However, these were not the only changes made to modify the event for COVID-19.
According to Cloutier, “One group wanted to have a candy buffet and have people pick their own candy. We just flipped the switch a little bit and they are going to glove-up and put the candy in bags for people, so really just making those small little edits.”
Cloutier also said there were moments that made her very proud. According to Cloutier, “Someone said to me earlier ‘this has been the most social I have been in a year.’”
Student Center Program Assistant Casey Brown said she was happy to see the Winter Celebration take place despite COVID-19. Brown said, “It seems like a really great way to bring people together during COVID while still being safe and just providing a space where people can enjoy themselves and not be bogged down by winter and make it uplifting.” Brown was stationed at the Student Involvement table where the group was providing attendees with Winter Celebration mugs and the previously mentioned pre-dipped strawberries.
Keene State junior and member of the Greek Organization Delta-Phi Epsilon Jordan Williams said she really enjoyed the celebration and seeing all the organizations on campus, specifically the ones she has never heard of before. Delta-Phi Epsilon’s section of the celebration included a swing set similar to the swings found in Boston’s the Lawn on D as well as LED-lit see-saws for the people in attendance. Williams said, “We wanted it to be COVID-safe and thought the swings and see-saws would be pretty fun and interactive.”
The Winter Celebration is usually a place for new students to meet people and browse the clubs and organizations that the college offers. Keene State first-year Olivia Mayor said, “I am not really involved in campus yet, but I am looking to be.” Mayor said Keene State’s environmentalist club caught her eye. Mayor also mentioned that she thinks Keene State is doing a good job providing opportunities despite COVID.
Keene State’s Winter Celebration was a moment for Keene State students to come together and truly experience the community that is such a large part of the school’s culture and message.
Tim Wagner can be contacted at: