STUDENT LIFE

DURING COVID-19

The reimagined campus experience will promote safety and responsibility while still preserving the vibrancy, sense of community, and fun atmosphere that promote students’ social and personal growth. New procedures and policies for life outside the classroom will support healthy and safe gatherings, experiences, and engagement opportunities for all students. 

Last Updated: July 28, 2020, 11:19 a.m.

New Student Welcome

New Student Welcome will begin officially at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 16. This year’s Welcome has been modified to allow for a socially distanced experience with every student’s health and safety as our first priority. Students will still have plenty of opportunity to connect with other students and begin to make Hurst their Home through both educational and social experiences. 

Students will be placed into small groups based on their residence hall and living space and will go through each section of New Student Welcome with that small group. The small groups will be led by a Laker Leader, Resident Assistant, or a staff facilitator. 

During New Student Welcome, students will be able to: 

  • Meet their peers and engage in an exciting and social setting while maintaining social distance during programs that are being held on the football field or virtually 
  • Meet with their RAs to learn the guidelines and expectations for living on campus and gain a deeper understanding of Mercyhurst’s Code of Conduct
  • Watch and engage in some of our past students’ favorite programs such as “Living Life at Performance Level” with Curtis Zimmerman and “Chat It Up: A House Call with America’s Dating Doctor, David Coleman” to discuss leadership, seizing the day, and navigating college through these confusing and difficult times 
  • Become familiar with Mercyhurst’s dedication to Multicultural, Diversity and Inclusion education by watching a performance titled Diversity University 
  • Become familiar with Mercyhurst’s outlook on sexual assault prevention and leading a safe and healthy lifestyle through a presentation titled No Zebras, No Excuses 
  • Become familiar with their Laker Leader, their RA, and various staff members that will help guide them through the transition to college

Student Organizations and Activities 

Mercyhurst believes in the importance of being involved while in college. Our campus offers many ways that all students can get involved and find things to do while here. 

The Campus Involvement Center and Residence Life have worked closely together to create guidelines for events that all recognized student groups will follow. These guidelines help to ensure the health and safety of all students involved and will be followed for the foreseeable future. 

Student leaders have been trained on these guidelines and will be following the guidelines in all their small group sessions. 

The Mercyhurst Hub page will be continually updated and you will find full schedule of events for New Student Welcome, coming soon.

Mercyhurst Student Event Phase Model

Mercyhurst University Campus Involvement Center and Residence Life will follow a three-phased model for all student and department meetings and events. These phases will be represented by leaves of a shamrock to make them easy to remember and to avoid confusion with state and local phase models. Each leaf of the shamrock will have a detailed description of what is permissible and required in that phase in order to ensure that our students are following safe and healthy practices that align with the University’s COVID-19 protocols. It should be noted that the phases of this model will meet the minimum requirements but do NOT align with Pennsylvania’s or Erie County’s timelines and only Mercyhurst University officials can decide when we will move from one phase to another. It is possible to move “backwards” if an increase in cases should occur.

Please review the Event Phase Model in its entirety for more information.

Mercyhurst Student Government (MSG)

Mercyhurst Student Government, comprised of six Executive Board members and 26 senators from various areas of campus hold events throughout the year to allow students to use their voices to express concerns and make real change on campus. Freshmen who are interested in becoming a member of MSG should look out for Freshman Senator applications in the coming weeks. 

MSG is providing many special gifts for our freshmen this year! All giveaways have either been properly sanitized or remain in their original packaging by the factory distributor. 

MSG events will begin taking place upon the conclusion of Freshman Welcome and will follow all guidelines to maintain health and safety protocols and social distancing efforts. 

Multicultural and Student Activities Council (MAC/SAC)

The Multicultural and Student Activities Council is a branch of MSG, comprised of the Chair and eight Event Programmers, who plan events that are free to students every Friday and Saturday night. MAC/SAC events offer a wide variety of events for all students to enjoy. These events will begin taking place the first weekend following Freshman Welcome. 

MAC/SAC has been trained on all event guidelines and will be following those guidelines strictly to ensure a safe and healthy experience for all students. 

MAC/SAC will be sharing information about their events on their Merychurst Hub page. 

Student Clubs and Organizations

Most RSCOs will have the opportunity to meet in person in accordance with appropriate public health practices and amended student club and organization guidelines and protocols. Student groups may also choose to meet virtually. Attendance must be taken at all in-person meetings and events to allow for contact tracing if needed.

Student group travel as well as off-campus events will not be permitted this fall. Given limitations to visitors, speakers/performers may not be permitted for in-person engagements. Limitations on travel and visitors may also limit students who volunteer in the community. 

Involvement Fair

There are over 80 Registered Student Clubs and Organizations (RSCO) at Mercyhurst for students to get involved in. Clubs include academic clubs, recreational clubs, service and honors clubs, and cultural and diversity clubs. If a club does not exist that your student wants to start, they may do so by visiting or contacting the Campus Involvement Center. 

RSCO Executive Board members will be trained on the new guidelines for socially distanced meetings and events. Each member of every club will be expected to follow all guidelines set forth for a safe and healthy meeting or event. 

During New Student Welcome the Involvement Fair is typically held for students to meet club members and learn more about clubs and organizations they may be interested in. In order to provide a socially distanced event with zero contact between students, the Involvement Fair will be held on FlipGrid and will go live Aug. 18th. For more information, visit the Mercyhurst Hub.

Campus Recreation and Wellness

All of the facilities designed for student programs and activities — including the Carolyn Herrmann Student Union and the Recreation Center — will be open this fall. These facilities will implement enhanced sanitization and disinfection protocols, will modify furniture and adjust capacities to university physical distancing requirements, and may reduce operating hours to ensure deeper daily cleaning or accommodate academic classes.

The Recreation Center will be open seven days a week this fall and initial hours are posted, however, hours are subject to change to allow for daily deep cleaning of equipment and the facility. You can read about adjustments for this fall in the Fall 2020 Guidelines, but it is important to know that appointments are required using the VAGARO app or website. Other guidelines include mask wearing, hand sanitation, no water fountains, and no locker rooms or showers available. Please take a moment to read through all of the adjustments for Fall 2020 by using the button below.

Campus Ministry

Campus Ministry is very much desirous of continuing our extensive programming for students within the confines of the pandemic protocols. Our weekly group gatherings, Tuesday Night Catholic Devotions and Wednesday Night Fellowship will meet live in Christ the King Chapel. Campus Ministry hopes to continue its extensive programming for students; Thursday Night Bible Study will continue from a remote platform. The Campus Ministry Lounge will be open but will have reduced access because of social distancing requirements. All persons entering Campus Ministry must wear a mask and practice social distancing. One-on-one meetings with team members must happen within a remote platform. At this time we are working on protocols for potential retreats this year and as soon as we have more definitive information, we will post it on this site.

Mass on Campus

First and foremost, Bishop Persico has dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday mass for the foreseeable future. This dispensation applies to both residents of the Diocese of Erie and visitors to the Diocese of Erie, which would include students and parents coming to Mercyhurst University. While our 11 a.m. Sunday mass has resumed (and 7 p.m. mass will resume when classes begin), restrictions and protocols are in place that include the requirement to wear a mask, to social distance in the chapel, and to utilize adequate sanitation methods. If you intend to attend our Sunday mass, be advised that because of social distancing, seating will be restricted. Families may sit together in a pew, but unrelated individuals must socially distance (six feet apart) within a particular pew. Reception of communion is done by pew so that there is no communion line. Please be aware that there are several parishes that are near the Mercyhurst campus which you may attend, understanding that the same protocols apply. While this may be a significant hardship for some, please bear in mind that all of this is being done to provide a balance between allowing communal worship to take place, while at the same time safeguarding participants to the best of our ability. Should you have specific questions about anything concerning worship, please contact Fr. Jim Piszker, University Chaplain at jpiszker@mercyhurst.edu or 814-824-2467.