COVID-19 drops Homecoming attendance

Abram Carter, [email protected], News writer

Homecoming provides school spirit for students, community members and alumni, and although attendance was lower than anticipated, Homecoming celebrators still showed their school spirit. 

“I love campus events and I have been attending as many as possible since my first year on campus,” said Maddy Gilroy, a junior homecoming court nominee at UNC Asheville. 

After attending Homecoming events and asking students about COVID-19 and how comfortable they are with campus events returning, Gilroy and Rose Gilbert, a current junior at UNCA, responded with somewhat assurance.  

“I have been somewhat hesitant since COVID-19, but I believe Highsmith has all the proper safety measures in place to protect us,” Gilbert said. 

Even with hesitancy, some students said they feel more comfortable and safe with the protocols and measures the campus started using recently for bigger events like Homecoming. 

 “It feels safe and comfortable. Everyone had masks and there was hand sanitizer available for anyone who wanted it,” Gilroy said. 

Students said connecting to one another and meeting new people is a huge priority for many students on and off campus. 

“I have been going to events since I was a freshman and I love campus events,” said Gilbert. “It provides a time and space to connect with other folks on campus.” 

While some students are excited about the return of events, others have different opinions and said it might be too sudden. 

“I am definitely a little worried about it, especially with the recent mandate coming down with the mask, just worried about cases rising again like they did over the summer,” said Brennan Cotton, a sophomore who currently works at the Highsmith Student Union guest services desk. 

Another COVID-19 outbreak could mean remote learning or more precautions put in place by the university. 

“For me, I am worried about another COVID-19 outbreak,” Cotton said.

Most 2022 UNCA Homecoming events took place inside of the Highsmith Student Union with the expectation of large gatherings. 

Not all of the building’s employees were involved though although some said they were reluctant about the return of events, employees continue working.  

“We are kind of just facilitating it right now, like keeping the building open, keeping it running, helping answer questions,” Cotton said. 

Sentiments toward how the UNCA campus is currently handling COVID-19 varies from person to person and their experiences. 

“I don’t really think that there is anything the university can do, or really anyone in particular can do, because not even really everyone is getting vaccinated, which I know that would help, but it still doesn’t really prevent you from actually getting COVID-19. That is what I am really scared about,” Cotton said.


Edited on March 1. removed a misquote.