Students leaving campus early amid COVID-19 outbreak

Students at Dixie State University have had to move out of student housing due to COVID-19. 

This abrupt change caused living situation problems but it has also caused emotional problems.

Jessica Powell, a junior education studies major from Tooele, said, “As a resident assistant I’ve been able to witness 50 girls have their lives completely changed for what seems like overnight.” 

Powell said that this is an abrupt end of the school year to all of the students.

“They don’t even really get to say a formal goodbye to their teachers, classmates, roommates and other friends,” Powell said.

Powell said that she and her roommates and residents did the best they could do to try and keep spirits high.

“I only had five residents here and we made the best of what we could do,” Powell said. “We colored, watched Netflix, had dance parties, paint nights and just took advantage of this time to bond together. 

Minta Wilcox, a sophomore digital film major from Gilbert, Arizona, said that not all students were sad about the early departure.

“I think the feelings were mixed for people left early,” Wilcox said. “Some were happy and some were sad and I think most were happy though because they got a refund on their last month’s rent.” 

Wilcox said most students have left, however, she is grateful that there are still students she considers friends in her student housing complex.

“I’ve gotten a lot closer to my friends and I’m grateful for that,” Wilcox said.

Sophie Prescott, a freshman biology major from Santa Clara, said: “The attitude is very different since leaving early. The attitude used to be ‘get to class and do what is needed,’ now it’s ‘at least I did something today.’”

Prescott said the change has effected her a ton by not motivating her to do her online classes.

“Classes in person are the best way for me to learn, so without my room mates or study groups, I’ve been struggling,” Prescott said.

Senior dance students complete capstone despite social distancing

College dance classes may seem to be impossible to do online, but students and faculty at Dixie State University are determined to make it work.

The dance capstone occurs in two semesters: the first semester, students take a course in the fall centered around choreography, then in the spring, these students focus on creating self-promotional materials to help with their after-college goals.

Now, however, with the drastic effects that COVID-19 has had on employment and group settings, dance majors are uncertain of what their future holds.

Jaidyn Kae, a senior dance major from Pocatello, Idaho, said: “The performance world has come to a complete stop, which means my plans to audition, apply for teaching positions and more are no longer available. I have completely had to redirect my life.”

Kae said she was lucky enough to have participated in the DSU student dance concert before the pandemic hit, but that the transition to online has still been difficult.

“Honestly, I have been sort of angry with the situation,” Kae said. “Having my final dance concert, my last moments at Dixie and my graduation taken away has been devastating.”

Kira Brown, a senior dance major from Logan, agreed with Kae; she said the move online has produced more work and made her appreciate having structure.

Brown was able to perform her choreographed piece alongside seven other dances at the American College Dance Association Northwest Regional Conference at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington in the fall.

Elizabeth Stich, assistant professor of dance and capstone adviser, concurred that she was lucky about what was accomplished before COVID-19 changed everyone’s plans. Stich said most of the projects happening now are able to be completed online.

“I know it has been overwhelming for students to adjust to courses moving to online instruction; however, I feel that in senior capstone, students have been able to keep working toward achieving the course goals and their individual professional goals pretty seamlessly,” Stich said.

Stich and her class of seniors were even able to do a photo shoot, while maintaining social distancing rules, to help these students obtain promotional photos. Stich said this shined a little bit of brightness into the lives of students who had been working so hard.

“One of the happiest moments that we had as a class during [COVID-19] was being allowed to hold a sunset dance photo shoot with film department faculty Ben Braten at Cougar Cliffs,” Stich said.

Kae said even though COVID-19 did not provide her with her ideal learning environment, she feels equipped to handle all aspects of her career, such as rejection and unpredictable situations. These students prove that even when nothing seems to go right, a silver lining can be found.

“Through the help of my capstone, I have been able to see what difficulties I will face in the future and prepare myself for them; that is my favorite part,” Kae said. “My capstone has given me the tools to grow and be faced with difficult problems and how to always find a solution.”

Capstone projects continue through COVID-19 disruption

It is the time of year for seniors to showcase all they have learned throughout their educational experience with their senior capstone projects.

With the move to remote learning and the partial closure of the Dixie State University campus due to COVID-19, these projects have had to take a more creative approach, especially for those in the arts.

Senior capstone projects for integrated studies majors pose a particularly difficult challenge due to the wide variety of emphasis areas and ways to integrate disciplines.

Kortney Webb, a senior integrated studies major from Roy, is one example of how these changes impacted her senior project.

Originally, Webb planned a public performance at the Dolores Dore Eccles Fine Arts Center to showcase her integration between her two emphasis areas, theater and communication studies.

Her plan to make posters, present her research and perform her three written monologues has now moved to an entirely online presentation.

“The students do the real work, of course, while I only provide a bit of direction, editing and cheerleading, but there are moments when even that modest of a collaboration can feel like flying.”

Mark Jeffreys, associate professor of interdisciplinary arts and sciences

“At first I was disappointed because there was so much build up to this project and I was working on the memorization of my monologues and getting ready to start advertising,” Webb said. “Then, after the disappointment passed, I actually felt a bit of relief and peace because I didn’t have as much pressure on me besides figuring out a different way I could present, but I knew I could make it work.”

Mark Jeffreys, associate professor of interdisciplinary arts and sciences and integrated studies capstone adviser for Webb, said the move to online didn’t cause too much disruption outside of the changes made to student projects.

Jeffreys said communicating with students has helped lessen the impact of this change.

“I’m a text-centric humanoid, to be honest,” Jeffreys said. “I like reading and writing. … So, batting bits of writing back and forth through screens is just a more fluid, rapid and intuitive version of old-fashioned correspondence, which I also loved.”

On top of that, Jeffreys attributes project success to teamwork and self-motivation.

Jeffreys said, “The students do the real work, of course, while I only provide a bit of direction, editing and cheerleading, but there are moments when even that modest of a collaboration can feel like flying.”

Similarly, Chelsea McCracken, assistant professor of interdisciplinary arts and sciences, said the students who are struggling the most with the online change are those who do not have access to necessary equipment or other non-academic difficulties.

McCracken said these projects are used to give students an application tool for their future careers.

“We hope that students will be able to use their projects, either as a sample of written work for a grad school application, or as proof of job skills in order to advance in their chosen career,” McCracken said.

Internships canceled, functioning virtually

Considering the unfortunate outbreak of COVID-19 and the sudden shutdown of businesses throughout the country, it’s no surprise that internships have also been affected.

Shane Blocker, assistant director of career services, said quite a few national internships have been canceled and local internships are now functioning virtually. 

Companies that have been forced to transition to online are offering their interns alternative projects to continue their understanding of the field, including marketing plans, researching and case studies.

“In many ways, I feel it is better as it teaches students to improvise, adapt and overcome,”

Brett Coleman, senior communication studies major and public relations intern

“Companies are continuing the professional development and how those students are developing into the professional they want to be,” Blocker said. “[They’re] trying to get that in-person experience as much as they can.”

Stacy Schmidt, public relations and publications coordinator, said Dixie State University’s public relations team has its interns working from home, writing articles, creating social media ideas, creating blogs and assisting with the development of its next Viewbook.

Schmidt said: “I think part of the quality of an internship can depend on the student and their willingness to learn, lean into various opportunities, and be flexible as well as resourceful.”

Brett Coleman, a senior communication studies major and public relations intern from Midway, said students can still get a great experience even though it’s not the same.

“In many ways, I feel it is better as it teaches students to improvise, adapt and overcome,” Coleman said.

Blocker said companies are making sure students are still getting the hours required for their internships.

Schmidt said: “[University Marketing and Communication] interns have to work a minimum of 90 hours throughout the semester in order to meet the requirement for class credit. Ours work about 10 hours per week on average, which more than meets this requirement.”

As of now, the plan for summer internships is still in the air, Blocker said. Certain national companies have canceled their internships, such as Switchpoint, Disney and Capital One, but local companies are waiting to see what happens.

As long as the cases of COVID-19 decrease, Blocker said, he thinks companies are going to be more willing to start internships back up again; however, summer internships will most likely be virtual.

“Locally, we are not as affected as nationally, so it will be interesting to see how the local economy recovers,” Blocker said.

Blocker said local companies are still tentatively planning on going forward with fall internships and students should still look for fall internships because more opportunities will start becoming available.

“The biggest thing students can do right now if they’re looking for internships for the summer is to … just wait it out,” Blocker said. “I have no idea what’s going to happen; I don’t think anybody knows. It’s still such a [strange] situation.”

If you have any questions, concerns or need help finding internships, reach out to Career Services at [email protected] or make an appointment through Handshake.

DSU offers curbside textbook buyback, rental return

The Campus Store will host a curbside textbook buyback and rental return to accommodate students during social distancing.

The Dixie State University Campus Store, which has had its physical store operations shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19, will still be hosting its semesterly textbook buyback and rental return, but the event will now be done curbside at the dock behind the Kenneth N. Gardner Student Center.

Dixie State University will offer a curbside textbook buyback and rental return at the Campus Store dock from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. April 27 through May 1. Photo courtesy of Campus Store Director Aaron Meadows.

“The idea for having the buyback outside is for social distancing and protection of all who’d like to sell their books back and helping them make sure they don’t get the COVID-19 [virus],” said Paul Morris, vice president of administrative affairs.

Textbook Manager Claudia West said students have been notified via email of the option to mail in their rented textbooks and will soon be notified of the recently-approved curbside buyback.

“I wanted to make sure I had approval for a curbside buyback and rental return before [sending out any information],” West said. “The students will drive up to our dock on the west side of the Gardner Center. We will take every safety precaution necessary to keep our employees and students safe.”

At the DSU Student Town Hall Meeting held virtually on April 17, Jordon Sharp, vice president of marketing and communication, said multiple students submitted questions regarding the textbook buyback and rental return, and referred to the subject as a “hot one.”

Morris listed three ways students can participate in the textbook buyback and rental return: following online instructions through a third-party partner, driving to the curbside buyback or walking to the buyback as a pedestrian.

Students should be prepared to stay in their cars and call 435-652-7642 for assistance when they’ve arrived at the dock. Students must also have their student ID number and textbook ISBN ready to give over the phone. Pedestrian students will be assisted in a tent near the dock.

West said the Campus Store is extending free shipping, with no minimum purchase, to the entire campus community to fulfill academic needs until the store re-opens. This also applies to buyback and rental return shipping, and any mail-in rental returns postmarked on or before April 30 won’t be charged a late fee.

“We have not received any information on when we will be able to open again, but I hope [we will be open again] by the summer semester,” West said.

The curbside textbook buyback and rental return will take place from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. April 27 through May 1 at the Campus Store dock behind the Kenneth N. Gardner Student Center.

Pets during quarantine offer sense of calm, friendship for some

They may be fluffy, scaly or feathery but we love them all the same. They’re our pets.

During this hard time, students are finding ways to keep not only themselves, but their furry friends entertained. Having a pet can help ease the anxiety one may be feeling from having been quarantined. Students are also finding a deeper appreciation for what their pet has to offer.

Megan Benn, a sophomore biology major from Lompoc, California, said life with her three-year-old Dachshund has been fairly unchanged since being quarantined with her.

“She is an emotional support animal,” Benn said, “She helps me to maintain my anxiety and depression.”

Aside from being an emotional support animal, Benn said she loves to play and go on walks with her dog. Her appreciation for her dog already runs deep as Benn said she helps her so much.

While Benn is able to spend time with her furry friend, there are some students who don’t have the luxury.

Sam Lyden, a freshman art major from Lehi, said being quarantined with her two cats and dog doesn’t feel much different than not being quarantined with them.

Lyden said, “I’ve lived under the same roof as them for so long but I imagine if they weren’t here it wouldn’t be quite as comfortable.”

“The more time I spend with them the closer we are,”

Alyssa Vincent, freshman nursing major

With everything going on with COVID-19, Lyden said her and her pets are just trying to adjust and relax to life at home again.

“They’re good cuddle buddies,” Lyden said. “It’s nice to be able to pet a cat and distract myself for a bit.”

While Lyden finds her pets as a nice distraction, other students are finding a deeper appreciation for them.

Alyssa Vincent, a freshman nursing major from Price, said since she has been spending more time with her dog and cat, her bond has grown stronger with them. Vincent said her dog has been getting more attached to her since she’s been home.

“The more time I spend with them the closer we are,” said Vincent.

Vincent said life with her pets has been fairly normal as well, aside from going on more walks with her dog since that’s the only thing she can do when leaving the house. Even though Vincent and her pet’s daily routines haven’t changed drastically, she said she still has fun being at home and quarantined with them.

Adoption rates have skyrocketed since quarantine and more furry friends have found their forever homes, according to The Aspen Daily News. If you don’t have a pet of your own, look into adopting or even fostering from a local shelter: RSQ Dogs+, Best Friends in Utah or South Utah Valley Animal Shelter.

Creativity leads the way for virtual sports competition

Anyone can play a game of H-O-R-S-E, as long as they have someone to play with, regardless of basketball skill level.

As the world is itching for some type of sporting event, the National Basketball Association and Women’s National Basketball Association found eight participants in total to go head-to-head for a H-O-R-S-E tournament.

Grading Conley, LaVine, Quigley and Billups in the NBA HORSE Challenge finale

Apr 16, 2020 Kevin PeltonESPN Senior Writer Close Co-author, Pro Basketball Prospectus series Formerly a consultant with the Indiana Pacers Developed WARP rating and SCHOENE system The NBA HORSE Challenge began with eight players with unique skill sets.

With the COVID-19 regulations, this called for some creativity to make the tournament happen. ESPN broadcasted this event for all to watch on primetime television. The H-O-R-S-E games were all broadcasted and live-streamed for social distancing to remain practiced.

Competitors watched their opponents make difficult shots through Facetime, Skype or other means of broadcasting. Utah Jazz Guard Mike Conley was the overall winner of the tournament.

This was the first true sense of competition since sports were shut down over a month ago. We need more of this.

Sports fans can only sit and wait for the gates of sports to open back up again and for COVID-19 to start settling down. With the professionals around the nation competing in tournaments like this, why can’t Dixie State University hold a similar tournament with their athletes?

“I think it would be a really fun idea,” said Jacob Nicolds, a sophomore business major from Gilbert, Arizona. “People are dying to see any type of sports or action because of COVID-19, and I believe people would watch.”

With access to local broadcasting agencies and the connections the university has to broadcast sporting events, this would be a great chance for DSU to provide entertainment for the community.

Along with COVID-19, the end of the semester is also approaching very quickly for DSU. Because of this, DSU Athletic Director Jason Boothe said he feels that academics are what the student-athletes should be focusing on right now as opposed to holding a H-O-R-S-E tournament.

“We’re not looking at doing something like that with our athletes,” Boothe said. “We may consider it, but we need them focusing on academics right now given the challenges online learning presents.”

As sports fans remain hopeful for professional and collegiate sports to return, we will just have to wait patiently for that time to come. In the meantime, people can consider hosting their own virtual tournaments with friends and family.

OPINION: Online school means more work for students, need to lessen workload

Classes are still piling on work online and students are not having it.

Whenever I plan out my schedule for school, I make sure to not add any online classes. I know I can’t keep up with an in-person class and also find time in my schedule to fit in an online class.

With the move to remote classes, some professors haven’t adjusted their courses to help students ease into it. 

“My classes were lectures and now that I can’t actually meet in-person, I have to go through hours of reading material.”

Jessica Chavez, a sophomore education major from St. George

One of my lab courses switched all the in-person labs into written papers. Writing a paper on a topic isn’t that hard to do, but it is time consuming.

Jessica Chavez, a sophomore education major from St. George, said some of her professors kept the same format they had during regular class and it just wasn’t working for her. 

“I have to go to work and still have time to meet for classes and do assignments,” Chavez said. “My classes were lectures and now that I can’t actually meet in-person, I have to go through hours of reading material.”

When it comes to online classes, there have to be some adjustments so students can work on their assignments at their own pace.

So far, I have only had one class cancel some assignments, which helped me manage my workload a bit better. 

My lab class that had a couple of labs every few weeks now feels like a completely different class with long assignments due every week. 

My days feel longer now that I have to balance work during the day and school at night. It’s a completely new environment for me and having teachers pour on extra work to make up for not having class isn’t helping.

My schedule before used to leave time to go to school, work and then come home and have time to myself. Now it feels like I am on a 24-hour time loop going from work to school and then repeating it all over again.

Professors should take into consideration that online courses are different from in-person classes. Following the same format, or adding new assignments to make up for the loss of class won’t help students in the end.

OPINION: Online school not optimal for learning

Online schooling is seeing a variety of issues with students not used to the self-motivation it takes to do online classes.

With Skype and Zoom meetings at the top of the list for online classes, students are having to take initiative and participate in class from home, making sure they don’t miss the invites and scheduled times to get in.

Other classes have gone to YouTube to have assignment-based instruction videos uploaded in place of an online video chat forum. Teachers are seeing more absences in the online forum than ever before, especially with high school students.

Mental health issues are at an all-time high due to self-isolation and social distancing. Depression can make it difficult to concentrate on tasks for long periods of time and with most college students taking 4-5 classes a semester, that means sitting still for hours at a time.

College students are also working and trying to gather an income with job losses. The anxiety and stress to provide during COVID-19 is also making it difficult to concentrate on schooling and seeing it as a priority.

Classes such as labs and clinicals have become more difficult to navigate since they were hands-on classes.

“I don’t like the online environment just because I like the classroom setting,” said Bryce Field, a sophomore biology major from Eastvale, California.

Other students are struggling with class timing and when each class will come to an end since every course is now on a different timeline.

“I dislike how all of my classes are ending at different times of the month,” said Denver Leavitt, a freshman recreation and sports management major from Kansas City, Missouri. “I wish all my classes finished in the same week like they did before.”

With having to relearn some how each course functions, it’s obvious that students are not enjoying the change. Though the comfort of being home and lounging in pajamas all day sounds great, in reality it can cause depression, a lack of focus, late assignments, missed video call classes and overall unhappiness in the educational experience.

Hopefully, once COVID-19 comes to an end students will be able to go back to their normal classroom setting where they can focus clearly on their studies without all of the remote learning dilemmas.

Renovations continue for Greater Zion Stadium

Greater Zion Stadium is on phase three of its renovations as a new video board is in the process of being installed.

The name and logo of Greater Zion Stadium is up and visible to travelers on the freeway just west of the stadium. Along with this, we can expect many more upgrades for Trailblazer athletics.

“It will be an experience unlike any we have ever had in southern Utah.”

Kent Beazer, director of development

“Final phases of the stadium are in design with the architect,” Athletic Director Jason Boothe said.

Over the past few years, Dixie State University’s stadium has held many names: Hansen Stadium, Legend Solar Stadium, Trailblazer Stadium and now Greater Zion Stadium.

Last season, Trailblazer athletics welcomed 4,000 additional seats with the creation of the east side grandstands. The early phases of the renovation also included upgraded field turf and a new athletic track around the field.

The video board will take the place of a 10-15-year-old scoreboard on the south side of the stadium. The video board will have light-emitting diode lights with the new top-of-the-line improvement.

The video board isn’t the only upgrade; fans have even more to look forward to in upcoming seasons.

“There will also be press boxes with air conditioning and great views along with completely new locker rooms, which our players deserve,” said Kent Beazer, director of development for the Trailblazers. “It will be an experience unlike any we have ever had in southern Utah.”

Beazer said they have received donations to build Staheli Plaza, which will be a merchandise store toward the northwest side of the field.

As DSU progresses toward the start of its Division I era, it is also making improvements to the M. Anthony Burns Arena, bringing in an all-new four-sided video board to enhance the fan experience.

“We want to make these the best venues in southern Utah,” said Lance Brown, development officer for DSU. “The future is bright, not just [for] the university, but for the athletics department as well.”

Creating a video board with modern technology allows for video replays, advertisements and many other software packages to enhance the overall fan experience.

“Undoubtedly, it will help with the fan experiences,” Beazer said. “It just brings a whole element for the game day experience for the fans.”

Beazer and Brown also said fans can expect future upgrades to the baseball and softball fields as well.