Alberto Silva Fernandez
After over a year of online activities, the Student Engagement and Leadership Center (SELC) in partnership with Recreational Sports, and Housing & Residence Life welcomed students on campus for a field day at Centennial Plaza on Tuesday, March 30.
The outdoor event consisted of live music, games and free food for participants. The games consisted of frisbee, cornhole, tug-a-war, among others. There were also individually packaged snacks, easy to grab to limit contamination.
“One of the major events that we wanted to do first to kick it all off was outdoors,” said Mallory Payan, assistant director of SELC. “We wanted to have something outdoors, bring folks back in Centennial Plaza, which is the heart of our campus, and so we really just thought about how we can separate everybody out here on the Plaza but still giving them a fun time.”
The event followed UTEP health regulations by requiring face masks and encouraging social distancing. Payan and organizers also kept in mind the length of the event as it lasted 3 hours, from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m.
At the event, students shared their concerns with others about the COVID-19 vaccine by urging others to register for the vaccine online for campus to resume in-person next semester.
Makel Ávalos, a UTEP student, emphasized the need to register for the vaccine.
“I would still hardly push for people to get vaccinated, especially here at UTEP,” Ávalos said. “All you got to do is fill out the waiver if you’re a student and you get the vaccination for free whenever they send you in.”
As of March 29, anyone age 16 and older, regardless of occupation or health issues, is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Texas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. UTEP recently expanded its Vaccination Program services to faculty and staff eligible household members.
“Hopefully the more we start getting vaccinated, the more we can start having in-person events,” Ávalos said.
The event follows a news release sent by UTEP Heather Wilson on March 3, which explained UTEP’s plan for an in-person Fall semester with what it expects will have social distancing relaxed on campus.
“We know circumstances may change and we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly, including monitoring the impact of variants of the disease,” Wilson wrote. “But people also need time to plan and adjust their lives.”
UTEP will also host two commencement ceremonies held in-person at the Sun Bowl in May for all graduates of the Class of 2020 and 2021 spring and summer candidates.
According to university officials, face coverings will be required, and social distancing will be practiced at the outdoor event, with hand sanitizing stations throughout the stadium and additional CDC and state safety protocols.
For a full list of upcoming UTEP events, visit https://minetracker.utep.edu/events
Noelia Gonzalez may be reached at p[email protected]; @OfficialNoeliaG on Twitter.