A sign reading "Lafayette claps when the plane lands" hangs from a house on East Fifth Street during Le-laf week in 2018. This year, there was a Le-Laf banner contest held online. (Annie Henry/B&W Staff)

Lehigh celebrates Le-Laf Rivalry virtually this year — and looks ahead to next year

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The week leading up to the Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry football game is a prominent experience for the entire community, but this year’s game is canceled due to COVID-19. 

Although the football game isn’t happening, Student Senate worked with different clubs to organize a unique virtual Le-Laf experience in order to keep the traditions alive in a safe environment. 

Some of those events included an online Bed Race on Nov. 10 and a Le-Laf banner contest from Nov. 2 to Nov. 12. 

Student Senate hosted Le-Laf Trivia on Nov. 12, a Smash Bros Competition and a Concert Competition on Nov. 14.

Maxwell Levine, ‘23, said it was inevitable for the longest-played college football rivalry to be halted this year. 

“I was upset to hear that we wouldn’t be celebrating Le-Laf this year, but with how this semester has been, I know no one was surprised,” Levine said. “Personally, I just miss everything from that week — from the entertainment leading up to the big day to the game itself — it was an amazing first experience.”

Levine said he has seen less spirit displayed throughout the South Side streets than previous years, but it has not stopped him and his friends from appreciating the historic event. 

He said since there is a lack of on-campus festivities, he is looking ahead to next year. 

Lais Santos, ‘23, said with finals approaching and a heavier workload, she has not focused her energy on Le-Laf, but looks forward to celebrating next year. 

“It’s definitely disappointing to not celebrate Le-Laf this year, however, with everything else that has happened this year, it was inevitable for this celebration to be neglected,” Santos said. “I just feel like at this time in our lives, with our world facing so many battles, there are way more important things to focus on and be disappointed by — like the mere fact that we aren’t all on campus.” 

Santos said she misses the Le-Laf campus spirit and the celebrations that occurred last year. She said it was the first time she saw the entire student body united and excited about an event. 

Santos said she understands why the event won’t be happening this year and that it’s for the benefit of everyone’s lives. 

Nick Koca, ‘24, said his expectations for Le-Laf this year were low. 

“I came into this year knowing it wouldn’t be ordinary, and I am pretty upset about how this semester has been, but there’s not much in my control,” Koca said. “I have seen many pictures and videos of the celebration, but once we were notified in August of the plans for this semester, I knew all games and big events would be canceled.” 

Koca said he doesn’t plan on celebrating this year because of COVID-19 and the limited amount of social gatherings. 

“Not too sure what I would have expected from Le-Laf if it had happened this year, but all I can say is that I am looking forward to it happening next year,” Koca said.

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