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Can campus unity get small colleges past pandemic into the future?

Can campus unity get small colleges past pandemic into the future?

The Christian Science Monitor

Kelly Field

October 6, 2020

When students at Colby College arrived on Mayflower Hill for coronavirus testing in mid-August, they got something in addition to a nasal swab: a blue bracelet with the words “One Colby” on one side and “Hold the Hill” on the other.

The bracelets, the brainchild of student leaders at the small Waterville, Maine, college, are a visual reminder of what college presidents everywhere are telling students this semester: Staying open depends on every person acting responsibly.

“Whenever you look down at your bracelet, you remember that you need to do your part to preserve this opportunity for the whole community,” says Sam Rosenstein, the vice president of the student government association.

Small colleges have always attracted students seeking small classes and close connections with professors and peers – the “sense of community” the colleges promise. Now, as colleges of all sizes preach accountability to the campus community, the leaders of some small schools are finding their students particularly receptive to that message.

“There’s a feeling of ‘We’re all in this together,’” says Sue Stuebner, president of Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire, which has roughly 850 undergrads but only two cases so far. “People are looking out for one another.”

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