Cub Camp’s delivery format remains unclear as August approaches
During the week before classes resume each year, hundreds of incoming freshmen load onto buses and travel to a retreat center in Trinity to participate in the Cub Camp program.
Summer 2020 will be no different; Cub Camp plans to hold activities face-to-face from August 17 to 19, although no formal conclusion has been reached.
In order to assist incoming freshmen with their transition to college life, the program has “parallel plans” to provide participants with a physical camp experience once constraints and concerns surrounding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have lifted.
“A final decision on the best way to hold Cub Camp 2020 remotely has not been made,” said executive director of communication in the Office of the Provost Brian Waddle. “We continue to move forward with the greatest responsibility to ensure the health of future Cougars and the staff working with camp.”
Cub Camp has not publicly addressed how the program plans to employ minimum standard health protocols, as enumerated in Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen Texas, to ensure staff and student safety.
The program has not specified whether students will remain responsible for the $140 non-refundable cost of attending Cub Camp if the event is held online. A virtual format would negate the cost of food, lodging and transportation that the fee typically covers.
While program organizers determine the feasibility of an in-person event, Cub Camp members have engaged new students using virtual platforms.
A number of counselors have taken to Twitter with the hashtags #WhyCamp and #CubCamp2020, sharing their own experiences and motivations for participating.
For some students, the potential for continued virtual engagement in lieu of physical camp activities mitigates their worries surrounding social distancing in the ongoing pandemic.
“I think that my main concern about an in-person Cub Camp is being around others in an enclosed space and the possibility of endangering my grandfather, who is immunocompromised,” said biomedical engineering freshman Lourdes Pinell.
While a virtual Cub Camp would allow for the maintenance of social distancing, some students are concerned about an online format negatively impacting their ability to meet fellow freshmen and to learn about the University.
“The whole purpose of Cub Camp is to make friends with your peers and get to know more about UH and you can’t really do that through a screen,” said pre-communications sciences and disorders freshman Isabella Sumner. “The coronavirus pandemic wouldn’t stop me from going to a face-to-face Cub Camp.”
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