DH Dev. Report #1

Observing the impact of the Coronavirus at UNL.


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus during COVID-19 expects their students to wear masks and stand 6 feet apart from each other. While the majority of students do wear masks, virtually no one stands more than 6 feet apart from each other on purpose. Criticizing this blatant disregard for safety is a form of making that students should participate in, based on the Hunter et al. reading.

On the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, students continue to walk around blissfully unaware of a growing problem. There are indeed fewer people around campus than what is typical of a semester. It could be because a lot of students do not have in-person classes or that many of them are self-isolating away from the madness that is COVID-19. Those that remain on campus, however, are required to wear masks. The majority of them follow the mask protocol usually by wearing disposable or cloth masks to cover their mouth and noses. Around 5 groups of people observed do not wear masks yet continue to talk to their friends as if a pandemic is not occurring. While the students that do wear masks are following one expectation of the university, people do not follow the other expectation that involves purposefully social distancing themselves from groups.

Purposeful separation of students is a major issue. By chance, separation can occur when there are groups of people that happen to walk far apart from each other. However, this does not account for the people who like to stand less than two feet apart from each other while speaking. Perhaps it is because they assume their friends will not give them the virus, or perhaps it is because they assume the masks will protect them from any face-to-face interaction. Nonetheless, it is common to see groups of two or more students huddling around each other or walking together. Markers laid around some public areas encourage the social distance practices, yet from observations people do not follow them unless strictly told to do so by higher authority. Lines are an especially egregious problem. While waiting to go inside of buildings or to the lunchroom, people disregard social distancing protocol in favor of quickly getting to their destination. The priority for these students is to get in and then get out of the location rather than patiently waiting for the situation to be safe.

By not abiding by the rules stated by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, these students are risking their lives and the lives of others in order to feel more comfortable with their friends. Hunter et al. describe the process of making particularly with the idea that the world “is the proper place to frame discourse about identity, social justice, and even the ineluctable interconnectedness of abstract debates about human rights vis-à-vis technology and the environment.” As students, we should criticize the people who refuse to abide by the rules, and as makers, we create discourse by pointing out the glaring issues that we see on campus.

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