Editorial | Acknowledge restored freedoms, hurdles this new semester

School years — akin to the Morrow Plots — crop up and gather yearly. However, with the 2021-2022 academic year’s planting, campus’ present sowing is unparalleled.

Dissimilar to last year’s beginning, marked with sudden lockdowns and certain behavior deemed “illegal,” this fall is engaging with the University relaxing conditions as well as an abrupt surge in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant.

Nevertheless, life is sprouting once more: Faces now visible outdoors greet fellow Illini faces; Quad Day awaits countless eager Illini who have not yet experienced this sensational tradition; in-person sporting events soon will provide a necessary roar to Campustown.

Fresh opportunities for campus life to revive itself provide the necessary fertilizer for student life to marvelously grow. Although for a majority of Illini, this semester is not exactly a start from scratch, with a multitude of sights and sounds rebounding, students can begin their campus journey anew.

A “new normal” greets Illini as they welcome themselves back to the University. Still foreign from the COVID-less reality of pre-2020, yet not as rigid as last fall’s opening, Fall 2021 is the moment for campus expansion.

Whether this is students attending athletic events and relishing Memorial Stadium’s melodies or socializing with fresh or familiar faces, this fall is a civil workshop.

Likewise, challenges and critical questions prevail across the University. Will delta’s rise incentivize the administration to impose recognizable restrictions? What will the return to primarily in-person classes indeed look like? Is there a risk of returning to online instruction?

For now, these questions endure backstage while the elation of Welcome Week rightly reigns and assumes center stage.

As this is an inventive time for students, this also is an innovative period for The Daily Illini.

With a strategy of once-a-week printing reflecting the DI’s contemporary shift to online content, the DI is more than ever focused on providing quality content to our readers. This year, as with recent semesters, the DI is immensely reinvigorated in its drive for the truth.

As a staff, we aspire to provide our readers with familiar pleasures in addition to developing phenomenally original approaches. A year like no other warrants an unparalleled team dedicated to exquisite content, therefore we anticipate our readers to join us as the DI — analogous to the student body — navigates these compelling times.

Moreover, with the DI’s focus on online, expect content to bolster as it has with the debut of the Press Box — the DI’s sports newsletter — alongside the continuation of DI Voices — the DI’s space for prolific perspectives.

Await a cruise control within this “new normal,” Illini. Despite delta climbing across the nation, Illini will live with resumed freedom and tests this fall — both academic and societal. As such, we must savor how much we have accomplished and reflect on what lies ahead.

Welcome back, Illini. Now, let the ambitious endeavors commence with the DI by your side.

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