14 Ways to Stay Social While Social Distancing

December 02, 2020

By Elsa Wenzel

Social distancing on Mills Lawn during COVID-19 pandemic.
Photo by Bailey Morris.

Whether you’re watching a movie under the stars on Mills Lawn or paddleboarding with a friend under the sun, Rollins offers creative opportunities to socialize safely during the pandemic.

We know campus looks different this year and that socializing and making friends looks a bit different too. What remains the same, though, is Tars coming together—in new and creative ways—to build relationships that will last a lifetime. Departments and student organizations are approaching campus life with a fresh perspective to foster a lively, engaging communal experience.

The need for physical distancing is driving innovation. Music is being live-streamed virtually and performed outdoors. Campus comedians are improvising on Facebook Live. Fitness classes are taking advantage of our near-perpetual sunny weather here on America’s most beautiful campus.

From paddleboarding on Lake Virginia and digging in the dirt at the urban farm to engaging in a joint service project and catching a show under the stars, explore 14 ways to keep your social life going strong for the rest of this semester and into the spring.

Student biking on campus.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Hop on a Bike

Bike rides are naturally socially distanced. So if your speed is on two wheels, why not hitch up with a friend or two? The Sustainability Program has a fleet of 44 freshly tuned-up cruisers and single-speed bicycles at the ready. Contactless checkout, with sanitized bicycles and keys, is available via the Olin Library circulation desk. Whether you’re winding around the chain of lakes or meandering through the tree-lined streets of Winter Park, it’s socially distanced fun at its best, with a breeze to boot.

Students planting pots during an Immersion experience on campus.
Photo by Airam Dato-on ’13.

Do Good Together

The spirit of SPARC Day, Rollins’ long-standing annual day of service, transformed into a series of SPARC Moments this fall coupled with ongoing opportunities to engage in 5-Minute Differences and virtual and in-person Immersions. By focusing on issues like food insecurity and lessening our carbon footprint, we stay connected to something bigger than ourselves as well as to each other. Learn more about the different ways Rollins is committed to safely building community.

Students in the Democracy Project getting ready to walk to the polls to cast their votes in the 2020 presidential election.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Join a Student Organization

Whether your passion is human rights activism, classic Greek and Latin literature, sport fishing, or social entrepreneurship, Rollins’ more than 150 student organizations offer something for everyone. You can follow your own bliss by creating new groups too. Keep your Rollins’ campus calendar bookmarked to stay up to date on the latest in-person, virtual, and hybrid happenings.

Students gaming in the esports room in Alfond Sports Center.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Get Your Game On

Hard-core and newbie gamers alike will revel in the Alfond Sports Center’s new esports digs, where luxe Respawn chairs and heavy-duty Republic of Gamers hard drives quite literally take you to the next level. Rollins’ newly formed esports team, Rollins Rampage, is always looking for new members.

Rollins sailboats on Lake Virginia.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Connect on the Water

Meet a friend at the Boathouse to pick up a sailboat, open canoe, paddleboard, or kayak under the new rental rules. You’ll get a workout and a chance to compare notes on the latest episode of The Mandalorian from a safe social distance on beautiful Lake Virginia, with great egrets and blue herons as your only other company.

Students doing yoga on one of the lawns on Rollins’ campus.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Get Fit

There’s nothing like holding yourself accountable to a friend to keep a fitness routine on track. Masked-up, socially distanced abs, pilates, yoga, and Zumba classes are happening each week, while regular WebEx sessions engage Tars who prefer to sweat from the comfort of their own living room. For a little healthy competition, an array of low-contact intramural sports include frisbee golf, paddleboarding, spikeball, and table tennis.

Student planting at the on-campus organic garden.
Photo by Airam Dato-on ’13.

Dig in the Dirt

Don some gloves and dig into the on-campus 900-foot urban farm, just outside the Sustainability House. It’s open to student volunteers two days a week. The farm has produced gourmet lettuce, beans, beets, carrots, kale, microgreens, and rosemary, some of which flavor your favorite meals from Rollins Dining Services. In-person and virtual events include greenhouse tours, documentary screenings, and lake cleanups. Off campus, horticulture hounds love exploring Mead Gardens, Kraft Azalea Gardens, Central Park, and Leu Gardens—all within three miles of campus.

Swededish food truck parked on campus.

Eat Up

Foodies, rejoice! You can find a rotating collection of food trucks throughout the week with fresh options for alfresco lunches outside Knowles Chapel. Grab a spot on the lawn or take advantage of the tents on campus to enjoy a safely distanced meal with a friend. Trucks accept credit cards and Tarbucks.

Students perform in Songs of the Season holiday concert.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Get in the Holiday Spirit

Songs of the Season—a joint venture between Rollins music students and Full Sail’s music production team—will take place on the outdoor plaza (complete with socially distanced pods) at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on December 6. Other must-see alfresco concerts include the Rollins Christmas Vespers, performances by the in-residence a cappella group Voctave, and cantatas by the Bach Festival Society, which will also perform at the golf course at the Interlachen Country Club. Check out Rollins Department of Music Facebook page for updates, and watch for new YouTube and Instagram channels.

Students perform in masks in a socially distanced theater production at the Annie Russell Theatre.
Photo by Tony Firriolo.

See a Show

This fall’s theatre season produced face-to-face and streamed performances. Annie Stripped, a trio of one-act plays by women, was performed both in person for a small audience and virtually from spots around campus, while The Wolves—the story of a girls suburban soccer team—used the Bert W. Martin tennis courts as a stand-in for the Annie Russell stage. A series of virtual performances this month by the Rollins Improv Players wraps up the season. In February, our very own award-winning playwright Beth Lincks ’75 returns to the Annie stage to direct her play, As It Is in Heaven, which tackles the collision of faith and fanaticism in 1830s Kentucky.

Knowles Memorial Chapel lit up in blue at night.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Reflect and Renew

A blend of in-person and virtual options for regular religious services and observations for Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist community members have taken place throughout the semester. Shabbat to-go bags are at the ready every Friday for Jewish students observing the Sabbath. In addition, each faith-affiliated student group is cooking up fun activities including service projects, movie nights, and dinners on the lawn.

Student carrying #RollinsLife swag across campus.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Work It

On-campus employment not only puts money in your pocket, but it builds your resume, busts isolation, and connects you to the Rollins community. Campus jobs continue to be posted to Handshake. Consider a gig that puts you in touch with people on a regular basis. Budding DJs are welcome to apply to WPRK. A green thumb may find a natural fit working the urban farm as a Sustainability Program coordinator. Scores of other jobs will put you at the heart of campus activities, such as working with the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement. Counselors at the Center for Career & Life Planning are happy to talk over your goals and options.

Catch a Flick

Home is where Netflix is. The Office of Residential Life continually shares a menu of activities, including movies on Mills Lawn, Kahoot trivia online, and EMBARK Netflix nights from the comfort of your own residence hall, which will continue next semester.

Student pictured among rows of books in Olin Library.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Join a Book Club

Reading may be a solitary act, but gabbing about your latest read literally puts you on the same page with other people. Novice and dedicated bookworms alike are welcome to join the Olin Library Book Club, which meets once a month on WebEx. Mystery, horror, nonfiction, and even children’s lit are in the mix. Stay tuned to Olin Library’s Facebook and Instagram for updates.

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