Pandemic Roundup: Virtual game, students use social media to promote causes


Midway Staff

Obama’s commencement speech and changes to the food delivery industry are covered in May 14’s roundup.

Leland Culver and Berk Oto

The Midway is providing periodic updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on U-High students, faculty and others in the community. 


U-High students invited to compete in new virtual puzzle game

Members of the University of Chicago community, including Laboratory Schools students, are invited to join the Fourcast Lab’s new virtual game The Labyrinth in groups of four to 24 people.

The game, which starts officially with a livestream April 18, will consist of a series of collaborative and competitive puzzles, or quests, with point values given upon completion.

The game is accepting new team entries after a week of software glitches that blocked people from entering, according to organiser Heidi Coleman.

“I think it’s really a great opportunity for students to do something fun during this time,” Laboratory Schools Director Charlie Abelmann said.

Questions about the game should be directed to their new Slack workspace, according to Fourcast Lab’s website.

— Berk Oto


Throughout outbreak, students increasingly promote causes on social media

During the stay-at-home order, students have been increasingly raising awareness and soliciting donations for causes through social media.

Sophomore Izzy Caffarelli posted Snapchat and Instagram stories to promote I Support The Girls, a non-profit organization which distributes bras and hygiene products to women experiencing homelessness. Other sophomores supported her by reposting on their own stories.

“My mom and I were looking into charities to help people during the pandemic, and we came across a New York Times article that addressed the stigma around women’s periods and how many women do not have access to their own feminine hygiene products,” Izzy said. “We thought social media was the best option to get as many people to participate as possible given the circumstances.”

Prisoners of Cook County Jail, many serving sentences for minor offenses including possession of now-legal marijuana, are vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. Activists like Asha A. Edwards, who first posted this image on her Instagram page, are pushing for their release.

Several students also promoted a call-in campaign started by the Chicago Community Bond Fund to free incarcerated inmates at Cook County Jail with minor offenses due to the increasingly high risk of COVID-19 infection.

“I think it’s important that people who are incarcerated still be treated like humans,” said Lahn Matelski, who voiced her support for the campaign on Snapchat. “Now that weed is legal, there are still people serving possession sentences, and they have to be exposed to the virus.”

Leila Garfinkel, a sophomore who also promoted the effort, thought that social media was her only option to publicize her cause.

Leila said, “Normally I can just talk to my friends about it in the halls at school or when we meet up, but now this is the only way to spread awareness.”

— Leland Culver and Berk Oto