Jolee Linden, a Buena Vista University senior from Le Mars, always enjoys time on Storm Lake.
Storm Lake, Iowa – Jolee Linden processed through the Victory Arch on the campus of Buena Vista University when she was a freshman. It’s part of the Founders’ Day celebration that begins the Orientation celebration for freshmen, transfer, and international students.
Per tradition, BVU students don’t walk through the Arch again until they are seniors, making their way as a group from Schaller Memorial Chapel to Siebens Fieldhouse on the day of Commencement.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus, however, the BVU campus has been closed to all but essential personnel. Beginning March 30, classes were held online. And, the 2020 Commencement remains on-hold.
Linden, like many of her classmates, is disappointed with the events of the day and the disruption of routine. She had to cancel a flight to Arizona as travel wasn’t advised. She’d planned to enjoy her final spring break with friends in the sunshine and warm temperatures.
“Instead, I’m spending some time in Omaha,” Linden says. “I’ve interviewed with a company here and I’m waiting for them to schedule my second interview. This is where I’d like to start my career.”
The Le Mars native majors in English while earning a minor in digital media. Linden served a pair of paid internships during her time at BVU, both of them involving marketing. “I really enjoyed doing social media work last summer for UMC (University Marketing and Communications). I found out that’s something I’d really like to do,” she says.
When she wasn’t studying, Linden kept busy working in BVU Student Success and at the Lehnus Campus Bookstore. She and her friends enjoyed spending time together on Storm Lake and, “on our beautiful campus.” Some of her best memories involve long-boarding along the lake or taking in a Beavers football game, basketball game, or wrestling match on campus.
“My friends and I were happy hanging out in the suites or the dorms, or going to the lake,” she says. “We could always have fun together.”
Linden says she regrets not being able to spend her last semester on campus. She’s frustrated she cannot say “goodbye” in ways she hoped. She’s holding out hope there will be some sort of Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020, a class that continues to leave its mark, even if from a distance.
That Victory Arch, the one Jolee Linden, like most Beavers, avoided the past four years, still stands tall in her vision.
“At some point, I’m not sure when, I’ll get with my friends and we’ll walk through The Arch again, just as we planned,” she says.
Thanks to Tim Gallager for this story.