November 21, 2020

SGA’s #RealCards campaign highlights student concerns

By Tate Luckey —

As the first semester during the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, many may be wondering how the students themselves are feeling. The University of Louisville’s Student Government Association put together an online submission forum they dubbed “#RealCards” to ask U of L students how they were doing this semester.

SGA took inspiration from Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of sociology and medicine at Temple University, who started the #RealCollege campaign, helping refocus higher education on what matters most.

Students have been communicating these struggles with SGA, which has worked to “bridge the gap,” as Sabrina Collins, SGA president, puts it, between students and faculty.

“We wanted to provide an anonymous forum for people to connect with us on what this semester has been like for them. I spoke at length with Interim Dean Owen about this issue and how we can bridge the gap between students and faculty,” Collins said.

The number of anonymous responses surprised Collins. The responses all detail similar, serious problems students on campus are facing.

“It seems like the #RealCards campaign is reminding students that they are not alone in their struggle,” she said.

One major issue students faced this semester was that the workload given was just unreasonable, especially during a global pandemic.

Noah Vanrude, a sophomore music and new media major, said that “My main issue is just not having much time for a break, and some professors have not decreased their workload. Classes I’ve normally been doing great in I’m not doing well in.”

A junior from the College of Education and Human Development painted a more broad picture, saying that “being a college student trying to navigate college during a pandemic, civil rights movement, and global crisis is very, very draining.

For some students, communication via emails and Zoom meetings can only go so far.

“I wish my professors knew that I can only put in as much effort as they do for online classes,” freshman English major Cassidy Witt explained. “If they don’t care to have synchronous classes, and organized due dates, then I’m not going to feel attached to their class or feel the need to prioritize it.”

And with so many students on campus, many are also concerned with a lack of safety and accountability.

I wish that my professors knew how reckless students are outside of the classroom with the virus. I feel uncomfortable with my lab partner because I see pictures of where they were over the weekend. I’m doing my part to be smart with COVID, but I’m afraid I’m going to be the person to bring it home through school,” a junior from the College of Nursing responded.

I know I can be responsible for myself and know that I’m staying safe, but I don’t know if my peers are doing the same and being safe and socially responsible. I’ve seen them being irresponsible so that is hard,” another junior from the College of Arts and Sciences said.

SGA plans to connect with the university administration, including school deans, the faculty senate, and the Student Wellbeing Committee, with a report detailing the common themes in the results and how those might inform policy change for spring.

If you’d like to submit an anonymous response to SGA’s survey, you can do so here

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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