The H1N1 virus has received so much publicity in the last few weeks that it has surpassed New York City as Twitter's "Trending Topic." Perhaps rightly so, as the start of school years and college semesters across the country this month has given the swine flu virus a comeback in the public consciousness.
The death of a Cornell student last week who was inflicted with the virus kept the focus on higher education, and Seton Hall responded in developing a game plan to keep its campus healthy.
Spreading awareness and not germs has been the theme, from the Student Government Association's free handouts of tissues and hand sanitizers to the university's posting of advice about virus avoidance on colorful posters campus-wide.
Housing and Residence Life also stepped up, having resident assistants go door-to-door equipped with tips on note cards for steering clear of swine flu and what to do if symptoms of the virus become present.
But most important is the offering of flu vaccines from Health Services. The initiative, at a student-friendly $30, begins today with shots being administered in the Main Lounge. Recipients who get the flu shot now also are entitled to a free H1N1 vaccination when it is publically released, with an expected two-shot timetable of October and November.
Even after tomorrow, the Health Services building proves valuable to students seeking the vaccine during a busy academic week. It's not the only department within the university that can keep up the cause, either.
The anti-bacterial lotion dispensers around the cafeteria should always remain full, especially with the chance that more students will seek to clean their hand prior to dining. Spatulas and other frequently used items in the cafeteria's buffet also need to be watched closely around the various "make-your-own-meal" stations.
Additionally, the heavy student, staff and faculty traffic in the Recreation Center makes cleanliness over the next few months a major priority building-wide. Maintaining a plentiful supply of equipment wipes as well as ensuring pristine locker room conditions are the first steps necessary.
With these varied and department-specific endeavors, a "swine flu panic" among the campus community can probably be avoided before it begins.