Ideas for socializing during the pandemic

First-year students make new friends as they arrive on The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons.

This semester may look different from years past, but that hasn’t stopped students, faculty and staff from interacting with their fellow Commodores in new and meaningful ways amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its necessary safety protocols. 

Students around campus practice healthy behaviors.

Vanderbilt’s nearly 130-acres of outdoor space have become the focal point for most physically distanced activity. Students are enjoying meals together in appropriate ways and using the circles on campus lawns while hanging out, listening to music or just relaxing. Students also can be seen playing Spikeball or Frisbee—with their face masks on. Others have formed a running group, in part to explore Nashville. 

First year students make new friends as they arrive on the Martha Rivers Ingram Commons.

Residence halls are hosting weekly programming that includes fitness classes, outdoor art classes, baking groups, study hours and movie nights, all while still following campus protocols. Students also are forming interest groups within their residence halls. 

Students who are learning remotely have also been able to connect with on-campus peers. Several groups are meeting virtually, including ones focused on fitness, gaming, making jewelry, jigsaw puzzles, photography, sewing, writing, boardgames, wood crafts, movies and music.

There are many different ways to socialize and interact with each other while following all the safety protocols. Some suggested activities might be virtual or in person following campus protocols. And remember that in-person activities need to be in groups of fewer than 10 people while wearing face masks/coverings (except for limited times when eating) and physically distanced. 

  • Enjoy a good meal or picnic—in dining tents, courtyards, outdoor lawns and Fleming Yard
  • Hang out with friends outside—in courtyards, Fleming Yard, outdoor lawns, Dining Hall patios 
  • Hang out with friends inside—residence hall common areas including lounges and lobbies where space allows physical distancing 
  • Participate in clubs or organization meetings. Other attendees can join on Zoom. 
  • Do fitness activities—in residence hall courtyards and on outdoor lawns such as Alumni, Wilson, Library, and Commons 
    • Examples: yoga, playing Frisbee, football throwing, Spikeball and volleyball
    • Create a running group and explore Nashville—check out some sample running routes on the ResColleges Instagram page 
    • Face masks/coverings are not required for outdoor exercise while you are exercising. Remember to maintain 6 feet distance if you come across anyone while exercising or if you are exercising with others. 
    • If using equipment with a small group, disinfect shared game equipment after use, wash hands before and after, refrain from touching your face 
  • Have a group study session—at libraries, residence hall lounges, courtyards, outdoor lawns, dining hall patios, and lobbies where space permits 
  • Watch a movie or listen to music—in residence hall lounges where space permits 
  • Play video games—in residence hall lounges where space permits  
    • Disinfect shared game equipment after use, wash hands before and after, refrain from touching your face 
  • Play board games or do craft activities—in residence hall lounges and lobbies where space permits, courtyards, outdoor lawns, Fleming Yard and dining patios  
    • Disinfect game pieces and supplies after use, wash hands before and after, refrain from touching your face 
  • Play instruments like piano, guitar and drums with 2-3 other students depending on the size of the music practice room for physical distancing (Remember that students are not allowed to play any brass or woodwind or other instruments that require using the mouth)  
    • Disinfect shared instruments after use, wash hands before and after

Check your email to stay informed about new events and opportunities to connect that are being created every day. Make sure to also monitor social media accounts and Anchor Link accounts of your favorite student organizations, Ingram Commons Houses or residences for information about upcoming programming. 

Some upcoming events for students to attend this month include: 

  • The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons hosts Homegrown Activism: Nashville, Civil Rights, and Justice Series, various events to be hosted Sept. 4-22 

More information can be found on Anchor Link 

Vanderbilt Programming Board Presents Virtual Palooza Week  

  • 7: Trent James Magic, 7 p.m. CDT 
  • 8: Playlist Bingo, 7 p.m. CDT 
  • 9: Mark Toland Mind Reading, 7 p.m. CDT 
  • 10: Text Breakers Game Show, 7 p.m. CDT 
  • 11: Comedic Q&A with Jordan Klepper, 7 p.m. CDT 

More information can be found on Anchor Link 

Some other important tips to remember this semester include: 

  • Avoid sharing items like toothbrushes, cups or makeup with your roommates, suitemates or friends 
  • If you do share items, be sure to clean and disinfect before sharing or using them 
  • Carry personal items for class in a single tote 
  • Wipe down your desk with disinfectant if possible 
  • Avoid putting your phone or other personal items on the desks or chairs 
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils or other items  
  • Utilize the grab-and-go option for food 
  • Clean and disinfect areas in laundry rooms that others have touched like the buttons on the laundry machines and be sure to wash face masks in the warmest water setting for the fabric 
  • Before going out, make sure to bring:  
    • Face mask 
    • Tissues 
    • Hand sanitizer 
    • Disinfecting wipes (if possible)

For more detailed guidelines on how to protect yourself and others on campus, visit the CDC college tips webpage.