Can College Students Be Trusted To Social Distance?


College administrations are advising students to maintain social distancing and avoid in-person large gatherings when they return this fall. Some universities are asking students to sign “pledges” to abide by university social distancing policies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 cases among the 18-to-29 year old age group have been climbing every month since April — they accounted for about 27% of U.S. cases in July. For many college-aged students, the “college experience” is an exciting chapter of life filled with new found independence, exploration, and yes, parties. So can universities really expect that college aged students will follow safety guidelines?  

The 21st is joined by a student panel and an assistant professor and extension specialist in Human Development and Family Studies to hear more about the social psychology of young adults and how that might be affected by a pandemic.


Professor Allen W. Barton, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Nina Chen, senior studying bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Amanda Diner, Senior at UIUC, president of the Illini Rowing Women’s Team and member of Greek life

Danny Dirienzo, Senior studying industrial engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Alexis Maria Perezchica, President of the University of Illinois and Urbana-Champaign Student Body and senior studying Journalism

Phinnese Walker, President of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority at Illinois State University, and a senior studying psychology.


Prepared for web by Zainab Qureshi

Help shape our coverage on The 21st by joining our texting group and answering weekly questions. To join, text “TALK” to 217-803-0730 or sign up with your phone number below: