There was a point when Colorado School of Mines freshman Matthew Micha wasn’t sure if he should come to campus this year. But as he walked around with a new friend on the morning of Aug. 14 with …
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There will be no M Climb at School of Mines this year—at least not during the first week on campus.
The popular tradition, in which students white wash rocks to add the large M overlooking Golden, was canceled after Jefferson County notified the school of new requirements it would need to follow to hold the event.
“Despite more than four months of planning, and the drafting of more than a half-dozen models for safely staging this event, new requirements received from Jefferson County late last week made it possible to hold the M Climb during fall kick off this year,” a statement from the school said.
A statement posted on the Mines website said the “school is looking for other opportunities to have you experience the view from the M, get your hard-hats painted and have your rocks become part of Mines lore.”
There was a point when Colorado School of Mines freshman Matthew Micha wasn’t sure if he should come to campus this year. But as he walked around with a new friend on the morning of Aug. 14 with new friend Oliver Noyes after moving to campus earlier in the week, he said he was happy to be starting his freshman year there.
“I sort of considered taking a gap year when all the schools started closing,” Micha said. “But I was really excited about coming to Mines, even if it is digital honestly.”
Still, Micha admitted to being a little nervous about coming to college in the time of COVID-19, even as he said he is ultimately optimistic all will be OK.
That optimism seemed to be shared by many of the freshman who ventured to campus despite the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and the impact it might have on college campuses.
“I have hopes,” said Noyes, who is also starting his first year of Mines. “I think if everybody does their part it will be a good year.”
But as students arrived to campus over the course of four days (a longer than normal move-in period aimed at ensuring social distancing and other practices could be maintained during the ever-hectic move-in process), the spectre of COVID-19 loomed large.
MORE: Back to school for the Golden community - 2020
Everyone involved in move-in was required to wear masks and maximum of three people were allowed in each room at one time. Signs on campus also provided reminders that every student was obligated to get a COVID-19 test after their arrival.
Around campus, many students also could be seen congregating under tents that will provide shaded space for socialization.
Among those students were two freshman who said they had gone to the same high school did not know the other were even coming to Mines until they saw each other in a Zoom chat that had been set up to help residents hall residents get to know each other in this unusual year.
The start of the new year also meant returning to campus after an unexpectedly long time away for Mines junior Adam Church.
“It’s so great to be back,” said Church. “Mines has such a great community and I really missed it.”
But while Church said he felt comfortable coming to campus and had faith in the precautions Mines had put in place to provide a safe environment, he worries about the impact COVID-19 will have on student life, particularly for the freshman.
“So many people who come to Mines tend to be introverted anyway and I think this situation is going to make it a lot for people to form a community.”
But Noyes and Michael said they are looking forward to exactly that.
“I’m looking most forward to meeting people,” said Micha.
Noyes agreed before adding “and also the knowledge.”
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