With the recent hurricane, solar eclipse, and “Tar Heel plague,” it is easy for apocalyptic imagery to come to mind. The scene in Chapel Hill when the norovirus hit was full of chaos, as if the virus was a widespread epidemic and not just a stomach bug. The exodus of people from dorms and apartments was a sight to see as cars sped away brimming with students, leaving parking lots and garages vacant. Franklin Street turned into a ghost town as students flocked to their homes and beach houses. Many girls enjoyed a free weekend after sorority recruitment was cancelled because of the flu-like virus. Simple requests for a bite of food or a sip of water spawned aggressive inquiries into the asker’s health. It seemed no good could come from this unwelcome virus-visitor, but that was hardly the case.
The chaos of the virus was no match for students’ solidarity, as Tar Heels from all parts of campus praised the opportunity to bond with strangers, enjoy extra room in the student section of Kenan Stadium , and appreciate a small break from the bustle of university life with a quick trip home. During the ‘epidemic,’ groups banded together to share a ride home or a place of healthy refuge. I was lucky enough to tag along to a friend's mountain house for the weekend.
With such positive energy stemming from the illness, it is easy to forget the suffering of those unlucky souls who spent their long weekend quarantined in their room or recovering at Campus Health Services. Regardless of what you experienced during the norovirus outbreak, it will certainly be a week to remember when reflecting on our years at UNC-Chapel Hill, and will serve as a wonderful reminder to wash our hands as we enter into the flu season.