By Makayla Cook
As a result of the new coronavirus delaying the start of the school year and eliminating fall break, William Peace University held its first-ever Pacer Day this semester.
During this day, students and faculty did not have classes and individuals had the choice to participate in multiple events held or just take the day off. On the WPU student life Instagram account, a picture promoting the day and a caption encouraged people of the community to take part.
“There will be no classes on Pacer Day and the entire day will be full of safe activities and events in honor of celebrating the WPU community,” said the caption on the Instagram page.
Students of all grade levels got to engage in events such as meditation, intramural sports, yoga class, and the annual traditions dinner. Although events on campus look a little different this year, the community enjoyed one of the few opportunities where activities could be done in person.
For first-year students, this may have been one of the most exciting in-person events of the year. COVID-19 has put restrictions on how events are being carried out and the new change in phases recently has just begun to loosen those restrictions after months.
Even faculty and staff members got to enjoy the company of other staff members and students that they had not seen lately. Anna Brown, the Area Coordinator for first-year communities, really enjoyed being able to interact with students again.
“Student involvement did a great job in coming up with fun things for students to do but also staying safe at the same time,” Brown said, “It was great to be able to participate in traditions dinner and get to see students that I haven’t seen since last semester and also see new students …it tied in a Peace tradition with a new Peace tradition so I thought that was a lot of fun.”
During the traditions dinner, the Student Government Association board members were revealed, those individuals being: Samara Demary, Alisha Dhar, Kasey Wilkins, Mackenzie Jones, and Emily Freer. Unlike any other year, there are some spots in SGA that have not yet been filled.
Jordan Miller, a sophomore majoring in anthropology said that this day gave a chance for everyone in the community to bond. She and others feel that taking part in the events held made their interactions feel “normal” again.
“Overall this day brought a tremendous amount of relief, especially for my mental health. I was glad that everyone could finally build community on campus in person. Things felt almost normal, especially having an event such as the traditions dinner,” Miller said.
Alyssa Crowder, a junior majoring in business analytics, talks about her experience with Pacer day and how it gave her a little mental break. This year has been especially stressful with the new coronavirus, the elimination of most breaks throughout the Fall semester, and the upcoming election.
“I definitely think Pacer day should become an annual tradition …institution-wide mental health days are needed,” Crowder said, “It helped me remember that my mental health is really important and it gave me a day to breathe.”
Students have also expressed that this day could potentially become another one of Peace’s annual traditions. Pacer Day could join the list of traditions along with the Red Rose Ball, late-night breakfast, and the LDOC festival.
“I do believe this would be a great tradition for Peace to have. It not only educates students on the history of William Peace,” said Miller, “but it was a breath of fresh air during all the stress we are enduring.”
Overall, individuals got to experience their first much-needed break from classes and daily responsibilities. With the recent release of the academic calendar for Spring 2021, the university is planning to host a second Pacer day on Feb. 24, 2021. As there will be no spring break occurring, Pacer day will give students another day to relax and reflect on their school year.