A group Webex photo of the "Rowan United" virtual event. The purpose of the event was to discuss current issues in a safe space. - Photo courtesy of Rowan University Hillel Vice President Alex Herschman

Rowan University Hillel and the Muslim Student Association virtually held their fourth annual Rowan United event, where students and Hillel adviser Marc Fleischner came together to discuss current issues in a safe space.

COVID-19 has changed the climate of Rowan completely with most classes being virtual. After Thanksgiving, all courses will no longer have the option to attend in person.

Students who participated in this event spoke of the uncertainty they feel about what lies ahead.

“Cutting back spring break is going to affect all of us. I understand why they are extending winter break, but you are not allowing students to have a break from school in between the semester,” said Sana Farhat, a sophomore and president of the Muslim Student Association at Rowan. “I feel like everybody is going to be affected and so overwhelmed from all of the schoolwork.”

No one can predict what the spring semester will look like, but Rowan will do what’s best based on safety, health and experience. 

“I do believe that Rowan is doing a really great job given the circumstances that we are in,” said Greggory Nekrasovas, a senior and e-board member of Rowan Hillel. “I think that the administration can, will and should address the problems from this semester heading into the next semester. We will really see how Rowan did with [COVID-19] and how they assessed it with a whole year under their belt.”

Post-election, people with differing opinions have become more divided from one another. Students who attended Rowan United are hopeful that we can soon find some sort of middle ground.

“I feel like we were getting somewhere over quarantine, and then once elections started coming up, we are definitely more divided,” said Rachel Levy, an inclusive education major and the president of Rowan Hillel.

To promote more unity across campus, students can use their respective majors or hobbies as a way of reaching out to others.

“As engineers, you do not look at people’s race, religion or political affiliation when you are designing a bridge for people or a building,” said Taimoor Akhtar, a senior and secretary for the Muslim Student Association. “You are designing it to make sure that people of all [denominations] are involved and safe in that building.”

Coronavirus has not only changed the way we live but unites us by how much it has taken away.

“I think I definitely took everyday life for granted,” said Jakob Oltman, a sophomore and secretary of Rowan Hillel. “I want to [go back to] a time where I can walk around in public and not be scared [that] I am going to get a virus, or I can be close to my friends and family and make new friends.”

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