Students share experiences of a more traditional MASTER plan


Big Red pumps up the crowd of freshmen at the 2014 MASTER Plan convocation. Tanner Cole/HERALD

Alexandria Anderson, Staff Reporter

Compared to the 2020 MASTER Plan activities, the 2021 events are much closer to what the typical MASTER Plan program looks like.

Despite mask requirements in all indoor facilities, the planning staff behind this year’s freshmen introduction week have worked to provide the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with other students through various outdoor activities and social events.

Many freshmen are simultaneously excited and overwhelmed with the hybrid events.

“This MASTER Plan seems more disorganized than years before, but I know it’s been hard to schedule, especially with the different guidelines,”Jenna Wells, freshman marketing major from Richmond said. 

As we face a resurgence of the pandemic, many students are trying to get to know other freshmen before COVID-19 restrictions possibly increase—and the social events at this year’s MASTER Plan seem to be the perfect place.

Unlike last year, all social events are being held in-person and in large groups. Through the cluster block group meetings with each residence hall floor, freshmen have had more opportunities than last year’s students to truly get to know dorm life.

“Getting to meet new people in large groups at the Playfair was really helpful, since we haven’t really had the chance to do that,” said Brianna Tomlinson, a freshman nursing major from Gallatin, TN. “College mostly depends on making close friends, and I’m a little worried about COVID precautions changing that up.”

This aspect of MASTER Plan appears to be the most important for many students. The social distancing and limited social interaction at last year’s events had an impact still felt by many current sophomores.

The most notable difference from the 2020 to 2021 MASTER Plan might be the WKU tradition of the class photo on the football field.  The class of 2024 did not get the chance to partake in this event in the traditional way at last year’s MASTER Plan due to COVID-19 restrictions—instead, a collage of student photos was used to recreate the pose.

But this year, as an outdoor activity, the entire class of 2025 was able to gather together, without masks, for both the iconic class photo and the Playfair.

“I would say that connecting with other students was the hardest, most disappointing part of MASTER Plan last year,” Asher Hagen, a sophomore Computer Information Systems major who attended the 2020 program said. “This year seems to give more chances for freshmen to get to know their classmates.”

Staff reporter Alexandria Anderson can be reached at [email protected]