Students experience acts of kindness, support networks in midst of global crisis


Photo courtesy of Yash Dhuri

The Northwestern Mock Trial Team and other friends surprised Yash Dhuri with an early birthday party.

Hannah Feuer, Reporter

Weinberg sophomore Helen Radoff was already home, grieving the loss of her aunt, when the University notified students they wouldn’t be asked back to campus for at least five weeks due to the spread of COVID-19. Radoff had only brought home enough clothes for the weekend and said the last thing on her mind was returning to campus to pack.

Her roommate sprang into action, offering to pack up all of Radoff’s belongings and move them to her brother-in-law’s house.

“I was so relieved with all this uncertainty and this stuff happening in my life and the world around me,” Radoff said. “It was just one less thing that was stressing me out.”

On March 11, University President Morton Schapiro announced Spring Quarter classes would be held remotely for at least three weeks due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Schapiro added that students who lived on campus should plan to depart following their final exams and, if possible, should not return until further notice.

The unexpected departure from campus has led to hardship for students and magnified existing disparities among their peers. Amidst the global crisis, many students have experienced acts of kindness they said make it easier to cope. In a March email to students, Schapiro wrote he had “heard stories of kindness and compassion among our students that bring tears to my eyes.”

Weinberg senior Ying Dai offered a place to stay, “cat therapy,” food and medicine to anyone who needed it. She also gave international students zip-loc bags filled with gloves and masks to help them stay safe on their flights home.

“This is a very important moment to continue the network of support that we had and just help each other survive,” Dai said. “When structure fails us, all we have is each other.”

Weinberg senior Yash Dhuri, president of Northwestern Mock Trial, received a card signed by his teammates on one of his last few days on campus.

Usually, the team holds a special night to honor graduating members. This year, he said, they most likely won’t get to hold the event in person.

“It makes me feel like my time as a senior has been appreciated,” Dhuri said. “The fact that they had the foresight to do it two months before actual senior night would’ve occured is really touching.”

Students have also found creative ways to keep in touch and support each other while still complying with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to social distance.

Dai said her friends have put together virtual dance parties, Netflix watch parties and arts and crafts nights where they make photo collages.

“It’s been so crucial to my sanity to know people have my back during this time,” Dai said. “Social distancing hasn’t stopped the love; it just forces you to be more creative.”

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Twitter: @hannah_feuer


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