My thoughts on this Labor Day weekend on campus

Opinion by Jose Zepeda

Last Wednesday, Chancellor Robert Jones sent out an massmail, saying that there was a real chance that the University end the in-person semester as we know it, if the number of cases didn’t go down.

Later, on Friday, we received another massmail, this time from Dr. Anita Young, the vice chancellor of student affairs. She reiterated what Chancellor Jones had said, and pleaded with students to not travel this Labor Day weekend.

From what I had seen, it appears that this may have opened the eyes of students to begin to take this seriously.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, I have taken walks or rode my bike around 10 p.m. (with masks on). It really came to my surprise to see how quiet things were around the Washington Park area. Not a single apartment, fraternity or sorority was playing loud music and I didn’t see any large groups of people. It was quiet. Too quiet.

You see, I have been living in the Washington Park area since August 21, and every night, even from my apartment, I can faintly hear music coming from somewhere. Go out and it becomes real easy to find parties or kickbacks.

So it really came to my surprise when I found how quiet and empty things where this weekend. Granted, I didn’t have a chance to stop by Green Street, where all of the bars are, so I may end up being completely wrong on that department, but my point is that I have gained some hope from what I have personally seen.

This community we call the University of Illinois is a great community. We have accomplished so much in our 150-plus years of history. The entire world is watching to see if we can really make this happen. Let’s show them that we can. It’s possible, but it really is going to take everyone to do their part. I personally know we can do it. I can tell things are getting a little better, but it is not enough. Are you up to the challenge?

Jose Zepeda

Jose Zepeda is a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. He is now on his third year with Good Morning Illini, previously serving as director, reporter and crew member. He is also currently a digital intern for WILL, the NPR- and PBS- affiliate in Urbana and vice-president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists University of Illinois chapter. He also has his own podcast with fellow GMI-er Angelle Cortes called Just Chillin’. He brings previous experience as a features intern at The News-Gazette and as a daytime news editor at The Daily Illini. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @JoseZepedaTV.