Groups of students walked across Dexter Lawn between classes and asked one another which color they should grab. After choosing, students popped open colorful plastic eggs to reveal a Hershey’s Kiss chocolate and a QR code.
The 200 eggs to choose from and a sign that called for students to “grab an egg” were a part of a demonstration on Dexter Lawn on Thursday, March 3.
The demonstration was done in hopes of affecting change on Cal Poly’s campus in regards to the administration’s current COVID-19 policies.
The QR codes inside the eggs brought students to a Linktree, which included the Instagram account @covidcalpolyslo’s COVID-19 story submission form, an email template for the administration and the account’s goals and policy proposals.
The demonstration was held by students who run the Instagram account, which shares anonymous stories from Cal Poly students and faculty about their campus-related COVID-19 experiences. Its creators, sociology juniors Siena Parsons and Iman Laique, shared the intentions behind the account with Mustang News previously.
“I hope it’s a representation of some of our community,” Laique said about the demonstration. “I know there’s probably an assumption that people don’t really care about this anymore, but a lot of people still do, especially if they’re immunocompromised.”
President Jeffrey Armstrong recently announced in a campus-wide email that masks will no longer be required in classrooms and labs starting spring quarter for those who are fully vaccinated, which includes the booster.
Parsons said it feels like a “losing battle.”
“This is a grievance that’s not just going to disappear overnight, and I really hope that people continue to fight for it,” Laique said.
The number of eggs dwindled as students passed by, taking the eggs and seeing what was inside of them.
“When you’re told to take an egg, people are like ‘Should I take it, should I not?’ and people usually end up talking about that in class afterward, so I would think it could be effective,” landscape architecture senior Brynne Ambrose said after scanning the QR code.
Biological sciences juniors Julianna Reed and Matt Abughazaleh said they were unsure whether the administration would change their policies surrounding COVID-19 ahead of the spring quarter.
“I think it depends, if cases go up again then they might, but only because they have to,” Reed said. “I don’t know, though — things change so quickly here.”
Abughazaleh added that Cal Poly’s COVID-19 plans have changed “for the worst” sometimes, citing the confusion when Armstrong dropped the mask mandate for some indoor spaces but not classrooms, labs, campus shuttles and healthcare settings.
“Some people didn’t read that and they’re still walking in [to the Health Center] with no masks,” Abughazaleh, a Health Center employee, said.
Activism at Cal Poly
Organizing a demonstration on Cal Poly’s campus was a learning experience, according to Laique.
“You have to go through so many hurdles, it takes so much time and it’s really frustrating at times because even for this we had to book Dexter, we couldn’t just put some eggs out,” Laique said. “Having to go through administration to be able to fight administration is the most annoying thing.”
Parsons said she feels like Cal Poly students don’t engage in social activism as much as other college students.
“At other schools like Berkeley and Stanford, they stand up for the things they really believe in and you don’t see that a lot at Cal Poly,” Parsons said.
Parsons said it feels like the people that are affected by the issues are then pushed into a role where they have to fight for themselves.
“People of all backgrounds, people that maybe even aren’t affected by COVID-19, can still advocate for this,” Parsons said.
Laique and Parsons said they plan to continue to post COVID-19 stories onto the account as long as people send them in.
The idea for the account started from a sociology class about social change they took during winter quarter, but with time permitting, they said they want to continue posting after the class ends.