A Trip to An Empty Campus

On Sunday, we drove down to Jonah’s college for brunch. After stuffing his fridge with two bags of groceries and a pot of homemade chili, he gave us a tour of his dorm. Later, the manager of the local pub brought me a mimosa and turkey sandwich; he said that the COVID rules and the college closure had nearly finished his business. He wasn’t sure how he was going to remain open when it was too cold for outdoor dining.

Jonah’s dorm is not technically a “dorm.” It’s a “student-living building” owned by a private developer just a block from the school’s library and classrooms. His dorm, which is still under construction, is pretty awesome. They finished the gym and are almost done with the common areas. I could live there. Here’s what his room looks like.

The school’s official dorms are closed and all classes are virtual, but there are large, but unknown, numbers, of students like Jonah who are living off campus in private dorms or rentals. The school has no idea how many students are actually living off-campus and has pretty much washed their hands of anything to do with them right now. The campus itself is a ghost-town. I found it depressing, but Jonah didn’t seem to care. At least the university gardens were open.