How the Morgan experience has changed since COVID-19

Certain campus traditions are disappearing at Morgan as a result of missed time on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Justice Georgie

Located inside of Rawlings Hall is the university’s largest dining area often referred to as the Refac.

Jah'I Selassie and Onya Solomon

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the dynamic of many college campuses since students returned to in-person instruction after 18 months.

Morgan students continue to reflect on their campus experiences pre-pandemic, and ponder how to move forward.

Here on Morgan’s campus, students feel that the university is amidst a cultural divide. 

Since the pandemic first began, a new generation of students have started their matriculation, another is ready to depart, and with them, their traditions and memories.

Within the last two years, graduating seniors feel a lot has changed on Morgan’s campus. The changes range from new buildings and the renovation of the Northwood Shopping Center to its cultural and social aspects.

Many students like Moesha Graham, a senior social work major, feel that Morgan is not the same as before the pandemic. 

Graham plans on graduating in May and feels the pandemic drastically changed the social landscape of Morgan. 

“The culture of Morgan is changing a lot. It doesn’t have that family feel anymore, the family bond everyone had is fading away slowly,” Graham said.

Although this is the first year Morgan returned to in-person instruction, many traditions and school events were either canceled, virtual or limited following safety precautions. 

“I miss the pep rally being in the [Hill] field house. I know we had it outside but the energy did not feel the same. What I really miss is the open houses and being able to help with that, Graham said. “That was big for me when I came to visit Morgan and that day solidified my decision to attend here. I feel like orientation plays a big role in why students decide to go to school here.”

Some students feel that Morgan is amidst a cultural divide with certain traditions fading away. Those who were here before the pandemic reminisce how campus used to be with the University Student Center’s Canteen as a go-to hangout and homecomings in the academic quad.

Generational traditions of Morgan are beginning to fall through the cracks as upperclassmen debate with the freshman class on how to refer to the dining area in Rawlings Hall. 

Students have historically referred to the dining hall as the “Refac,” short for refectory which is also known as a dining hall.

However, members of the incoming freshman class use the term “cafe” when referring to the dining hall, erasing a previous Morgan tradition. 

Some freshmen like Jaidyan Phillips, a freshman early childhood education major, use the term cafe when speaking about the dining hall.

“I call it the cafe because it’s short for cafeteria and that’s what I called it in high school,” Phillips said.

The pandemic made it difficult to pass down certain school traditions like the name of the dining hall as students spent over a year with remote instruction.

Graham said, “I miss just hanging out with my friends in the Refac. Emphasis on the Refac, because I don’t know who started calling it the “cafe” but that’s not what it is.”

Brandon McKay, a senior social work major, recalls the various names for buildings on Morgan’s campus pre-pandemic, such as the “Refac,” and MFAB for the Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Building. 

McKay said Morgan’s traditions always made the staff and students feel like family to him 

“We’ve lost that sense of unity and you know, just like any black family or any family. Sometimes you just gotta sit back and talk about what’s gone wrong and where have our connections been lost throughout time,” McKay said.

Darriel Cerrato, a senior social work major, echoed McKay’s sentiments and reminisced on-campus life prior to the large 2020 coronavirus outbreak.

“There was so much to do both on-campus and off-campus from organizations, I felt like there was a thriving social life as compared to now… I remember when I would be walking around campus just going to class or just between classes…I would always run into somebody that I knew nearly every day but now it’s just like I don’t really be seeing everybody, said Cerrato.

Cerrato believes there is an obvious disconnect in campus culture between upperclassmen and freshman students caused by the pandemic.

“It seems like with the pandemic, it really did kind of disconnect the culture because we were all on campus. There in the pandemic and everythingfreshmen wouldn’t come up and ask and be like, ‘Hey, can you tell me where this is?’ You could be like, ‘Oh, you could find the refac here’ or anything like that,” he said.

The effects of the pandemic are still felt throughout Morgan’s campus. However, many are wondering if the current culture of Morgan is dying and a new culture is beginning.