Don’t gather in groups of 10 or more. Don’t go to classes in person. Don’t go out in public without a mask on… As students, we have been told a lot of what not to do this year. So we’re going to put things in reverse and tell you all the things you CAN do this semester instead.

We were told college would be some of the best years of our lives, and whether or not this is how you expected it to be (we’re going to guess not), we crafted a list of ways to ensure that still happens!

Kick it back to your first year

Take advantage of our peaceful campus this September! Remember walking back from classes your first year and seeing everyone sitting outside your residence hall on the quad? The weather was warm. There was a slight breeze. The weekend was just around the corner. Gather a roommate or a couple friends from your squad and do some classwork outside of your old residence hall. There are so many great spots for a picnic, to throw around a football, or just relax in the sun.

Go to a drive-in theater

The Holiday Auto Theater is less than 20 minutes away from Oxford. Pack your car with as many blankets and pillows as you can find, and visit our local drive-in theater. Movies are a great way to gather friends in a shared activity and still physically distance from your vehicle. Bonus! Bring your Miami student ID for a small discount, and support a local business through this fun and nostalgic activity.

a drive in theater screen with "Make This Drive In Theatre a Regular Habit" on the screen.

Zoom cooking

You’ve heard of friendsgiving, but what about Zoom cooking? Text a friend or relative (P.S. your mom would love this) and send them a recipe to cook. Set a date and time that works for you both to cook the same thing at the same time. Of course, give your friend enough time to go to the store and buy the groceries in advance. On the call, cook the same recipe together and then after it’s done, eat it with one another. It’s a great way to still see those you love, but stay safe and physically distanced.

Oxford trails

Explore Oxford’s natural areas! They’re great for walks, jogs, or bike rides, and range from 0.5-3.1 miles long. If you don’t have a car on-campus, not to worry, there are a ton of nearby trails that you can access right from campus. Check out Miami’s trail guide for more information.

Support a local business

Add “trying every restaurant in Oxford” to your bucket list. Odds are, you’ve probably eaten at the same few restaurants whenever you’ve been out to eat. But, have you tried Phan Shin? Or the new Hibachi House? There are so many restaurants with tons of different cuisines in Oxford – Indian, German, Chinese, you name it! And most of them have take-out and/or delivery!

Take it a step further and host an international cuisine night with your small group of friends or roommates by ordering a meal from a few different restaurants, then divvying out the meals into separate containers and sharing.

Try a new sport

We know that with classes online, you might not be leaving your bed as often as you otherwise might. Replace the exercise you’d get from walking to class with a fun new sport. Grab three of your friends and go to the tennis courts, play volleyball on East quad, or try disc golf on Western (don’t forget your scorecard!). If you have a backyard, you don’t even have to leave. Just throw around a football or play spikeball there. Remember, even though classes are online, you can still find ways to stay healthy and active.

Disc golf basket with a western campus building in the background

Carve a pumpkin

With fall just around the corner, it is the perfect time to express your artsy side. Next time you go grocery shopping at Kroger or Walmart, pick up a pumpkin while you’re there. Carving pumpkins is a great way to spend an afternoon, plus you can use it as outdoor decor afterwards. Bonus! If you save the pumpkin seeds and wash them off, you can roast them as a fun fall snack.

Try geocaching

Download a free Geocaching app and go on a modern day mini treasure hunt. You just need your phone, a pencil or pen, and a couple of trinkets to exchange in case you find a box of items (rule of thumb: always leave something of equal or greater value if you take an item). There are tons of caches in Oxford, and even more up the road at Hueston Woods!

Screenshots of many many geocache locations over a Google Earth image of Oxford and Hueston Woods.

These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg! It’s time to get creative. What about trying Oxford’s new Black History Walking Tour? Or tackling a new dessert recipe and dropping off treats on your neighbors’ porches? Host a virtual photo scavenger hunt with your friends. Or do something productive – clean up the photos and videos on your phone and reclaim some storage space or check out free Yoga in the Uptown park.

Have other ideas? Let us know on social media how you are staying busy (and staying put) this Labor Day weekend!

Hannah Frier | Marketing