Thursday night karaoke at The Last Chapter Pub. (Image courtesy: Taylor Posik)

SNHU students have varying college experiences during the pandemic. Last year, staff and students were subject to COVID testing and the mask mandate, affecting campus nightlife and activities.

With COVID under control and minimal to no restrictions, students may be wondering what to do with the newfound freedom.

(Student) employees and campus organizations, like CAPE and The Pub, witnessed both COVID and post-COVID standards and lifestyles. CAPE President Nicholas Gaston (‘23) compared student engagement last semester to now.

“Students were tired of wearing a mask all day and following COVID-19 guidelines, which made our attendance plummet,” said Gaston.

Gaston also mentioned the energy on campus last year. “When students came back to school last year, there was a lot of confusion and frustration. The students expected to be back at the norm of pre-COVID and be able to continue where we left off. That just wasn’t the case. This created a lot of strain between the students and faculty, which in turn made it difficult to have good retention at events and meetings.”

The first Big Money Bingo of the ’22-’23 school year, held on August 31, had a high attendance. While not being the 350-400 student attendance during the previous school year, Gaston had this to say about the first post-COVID Big Money Bingo.

“The first Big Money Bingo [attendance] did not compare to last year’s first Big Money Bingo. I believe this year we had close to 200 students [in attendance],” Gaston said.

Bingo isn’t the only campus function returning to normal; The Last Chapter Pub (The Pub) is open and hosting events. The Pub sees foot traffic throughout the day and is often packed at night and on special events. Most recently, The Pub had Karaoke Night on Monday, August 29, hosted by Radio SNHU and CAPE. A second Karaoke Night was also hosted in The Pub on Thursday, September 1.

Pub employees, Justin Kaminski (’23) of event operations, and Jill Houghton (‘25) talked about working at The Pub during the mask mandate as well as now. They both worked during the Thursday event and witnessed the newfound energy on campus. “The energy was up; there wasn’t a time where anybody wasn’t singing,” Houghton said.

“There’s a huge influx in freshmen,” said Kaminski.

The Pub’s capacity allows for 297 guests. Chairs and tables were removed to follow social distancing regulations, limiting The Pub’s capacity last semester. Students were allowed to remove their masks to eat and drink, but not to socialize.

Both Houghton and Kaminski said that students respected the mandate, having only one instance of asking a student to leave for not complying with the mask policy. However, Kaminski mentioned the difficulty with singers removing their masks.

COVID made it difficult for students to interact and enjoy each other’s company. With the new school year, and students can enjoy the new normal and enjoy the post covid college experience.

Upcoming events for students to participate in include Weekly Bingo on Wednesdays at The Pub from 8 to 9 pm. Big Money Bingo will be held every first Wednesday of the month in the Upper Dining Hall at 9 pm. Karaoke will be held on Thursdays from 8 to 11 pm at The Pub.

Students can view upcoming social events on MySNHU, under the SNHU Events Calendar in the right bar of the homepage.