Students Helping Students During COVID Isolation on Campus
Resident Assistants Volunteer to Accommodate Meal Deliveries
After isolating for COVID-19 over the summer, Butler Community College sophomore Addison Colter was sympathetic to what others with the virus are going through. This in turn led to helping fellow Grizzlies as they navigate their own COVID-enforced isolation.
Butler residence hall students who are required to isolate due to a COVID-19 diagnosis are housed in one of two campus apartments – one for males and one for females. Each apartment can house up to eight students. Since these students usually live in the residence halls and are on the Butler dining plan, their meals are provided by the dining hall, but getting those meals to the students is problematic. Dining services doesn’t have the staff to deliver meals so that’s where volunteers like Colter step in.
David Newell, director of residence life at Butler, reaches out to his resident assistants (RAs) to fill the need. Meals are delivered three times a day. The volunteers pick up the meals at the dining center and follow safety protocols when delivering them to the apartments.
“Every breakfast, lunch, and dinner myself or student volunteers go to the dining hall and call students in isolation and give them the menu choices for the day,” said Newell. “The isolated students decide what they would like to eat, and food service packages it up so the volunteer can deliver it. Dining services can even do made-to-order items such as omelets.”
Colter, who is a music education major from Coldwater, Kansas, was quick to volunteer to help with meal delivery. “He (Newell) asked if RAs could help out. We weren’t forced to help, it was on a volunteer basis. That’s why I end up doing a lot because I don’t ever leave campus since my home is so far away. I like volunteering.”
“Without Addie’s help it would have been really, really difficult to provide the service to the students due to the sheer magnitude of meals we needed delivered,” said Newell. “She was pleasant about it and so friendly to the students. She volunteered and did it with great compassion and sympathy to the students and their plight.”
According to Jaime Sharp, director of college health services, “If the student in isolation is in athletics then their coaches are responsible for getting meals to them. David and his RAs take care of the non-athletes. Thankfully, we’ve been able to keep the numbers low.”
Colter says she understands what the isolated students are going through. Her own case of COVID was asymptomatic, but she still had to be isolated. Her mom would bring meals to the bottom of the stairs and text her to tell her they were there. “While I was asymptomatic, plenty of people in our small community helped out by bringing meals to us,” says Colter. “I was glad to have the opportunity to return the favor. The people in isolation don’t see anyone, I know that after my own experience.”
Jan Stitt, director of dining services, says “It’s working very well, we’ve got some great kids here at Butler.”
While Colter had to make some adjustments to her schedule, she didn’t mind. “I felt great about doing it. I am a person who likes to help others. I had to talk to some of my instructors to leave class a little early to do pick-up but I didn’t mind and the instructors understood.”
As for her thoughts on COVID, Colter says, “It is hard to realize how serious it is if you don’t have the symptoms. I was fine, but an uncle of mine died from it. It is crazy how it effects people so differently.”