Notre Dame College held its first Falcon Community Day last month, which meant all on-campus and synchronous classes were canceled for students. Faculty and staff were notified of the special event prior but kept the secret from their students.
The day was planned by Notre Dame’s COVID-19 committee with support from the college’s administrative cabinet. Notre Dame is conducting courses and campus activities in person, while following social distancing and related health and safety guidelines. The day featured a series of events, including a live, outdoor musical performance from Notre Dame President J. Michael Pressimone.
Pressimone, a baritone, performed classics on guitar, including “The River” by Bruce Springsteen. He was accompanied by Gerald “Jerry” Hayes, director of the college’s counseling center, also on guitar.
“Falcon Community Day is a day for the campus community to focus on wellness and balance,” says Tera Johnson, dean of students. “It is a day with no classes, where students, faculty and staff can come together without the stresses imposed on everyone during a typical weekday during the semester.”
The day started with cider and donuts on the lawn and featured tie dying face masks, t-shirts and pillowcases; lawn games like cornhole and spikeball; and the opportunity to craft gift bags as part of a service project. Apples and grilled hot dogs were offered at lunch, along with the chance to interact with therapy dogs. Information tents provided details about resources from the college’s Counseling Center, Student Success Center and First Generation, or FirstGen, Center. Popcorn snacks were shared in the afternoon, and “cupcakes and canvas” art projects took place at dusk.
Compliance with social distancing and other Ohio Department of Health guidelines was required during all Falcon Community Day programs. Students, faculty and staff are required to wear facial coverings in campus buildings at all times. The typical college academic calendar calls for two days off in October for fall break, but this year Notre Dame condensed its semester as part of COVID-19 protocols.
“This day is about coming together as a community during this challenging time, recognizing that we can support one another,” Johnson says.
—Submitted by Notre Dame College