The University of New Hampshire (UNH) Residential Life creatively continued the tradition of “Floor Wars” despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions and guidelines.
Floor Wars, a multi-night competition between floors of residential halls has occurred at the university for over 40 years according to Darnelle Bosquet-Fleurival, Assistant Director of Residential Life. The events take place within residential halls in the opening month of the academic year. The goal of floor wars according to Bosquet-Fleurival, “connection, connection, connection, building community! Our goal with floor wars is that students are able to meet people on their floor, make friends, and find a sense of belonging in the community.”
When it came to putting on the intense competitions between floors of residence halls, the Residential Life Department had quite the challenge with implementing new COVID-19 guidelines. According to the hall director manual, the restrictions put into place included, no more than 25 people in a group, activities and participants must remain six feet apart, hand sanitizer and sanitary wipes located at each event, and any food must be individually packaged.
When asked how Residential Life went about this challenge, Janett Thomas, Upper Quad hall director said “We really had to think outside the box on how we could get people engaged who might not be comfortable with just being physically distant.”
Res. Life did just that. With a variety of activities, both in person and online, residents got to experience another year of floor wars. Some activities included Kahoot wars, Zoom challenges, bottle flipping competitions, newspaper fashion shows, and a variety of other activities that ranged between residence halls.
Sophomore Morgan Bowles, and first-year Finn Wegmueller commented on how the bottle flipping challenge was their favorite within Upper Quads competitions.
Although there were certain restrictions to this year’s floor wars, the turnout was still the same. Holly Fisher, hall director of Handler Hall said “I was actually really happy about the turnout this year, even compared to last year! We were only allowed to have 25 people, but we staggered the times for the competitions so floors could come at varying times which really helped.”
One of the main concerns of Res. Life when it came to hosting floor wars was the safety of residents. Thomas commented on how well residents followed COVID-19 guidelines saying “Yes! 100%. Of course there’s the rush and excitement of the games, but overall it was very doable and our residents showed us that we can program within the confines of COVID.”
Thomas was not the only one to feel this way. Izzy Medeiros, class of ‘23 said “the activities that they chose made it really easy to follow the COVID guidelines, I felt safe, and it was still fun even with COVID restrictions.”
As residence halls wrapped up the week of exciting competition, Res. Life reflected on how the challenge of hosting floor wars this year was conquered. “The activities change, and how we get people involved changes, but the consistency of floor wars has stayed the same,” said Bosquet-Fleurival.