As flu season continues, many Hillsdale students lament their poor physical conditions and having to skip class (as devastating as that is). However, we can be lucky that we didn’t go to Hillsdale in the winters of 1983 and 1984.
On February 23, 1984, The Collegian reported, “there have been three times the normal number of student visits to the Health Center. The most common diagnosis is the influenza.”
Former Dean of Men Robert Hendee commented on the sickness on campus, saying, “Health is always most important. You can die and then what does it matter if you got a good grade in your class.” That is a slightly morbid take for a simple flu outbreak, but I see no falsehoods in his statement.
According to The Collegian, the high amount of sick students led to an increase in classes missed and a poor attendance at the 1984 President’s Ball.
In addition, the increased sickness affected Hillsdale’s athletic department. Starting with the football team, Collegian reporter Kevin Shinkle reported on November 3, 1983 that reserves had to take the place of several starters in a game against Kentucky State due to an outbreak of flu on the team. (It’s a shame this news was given by such a shoddy reporter).
However, the track team seemed to suffer the most from sickness during the 1983 – 1984 school year. On September 29, 1983, The Collegian reported “Senior Co-Captain Mike Michno coasted to 44th place despite a bout with the flu, caused most definitely by bad grapes and overextension in his aerobics dance class.” Who knew that dance would have such disastrous consequences?
The Collegian also reported sickness on the women’s track team, writing, “Tandy Champion, though suffering from the flu which plagued many on the team, ran two respectable races in the mile run and 880 yd. dash.” Well her last name is Champion, so obviously she would power through anything.
On September 27, 1984, The Collegian wrote, “Hillsdale ran well despite a flu bug which has plagued the team for much of the week. But the lads recovered well enough to compete amid some fair competition.”
The illness apparently shocked not only the college but also the town, which was formerly referred to as “Healthydale” in the February 17, 1983 issue of The Collegian.
Ellen Landers, the reporter that conned this term, seemed to have some interesting opinions about sickness on campus.
On February 17,1983 she wrote, “But what could be more irritating than talking to someone who has a stuffed-up nose or taking a test behind someone who has faucet sniffles? The only way to overcome such annoyances is to incur a respiratory fare-up of your very own.”
That is a hot, hot take.
For those already sick, she made this recommendation: “Go for the strong stuff. There is no cure for the common cold, you have to mask your feelings.” That is simultaneously the most and least healthy approach: take lots of medicine so that you feel nothing. In terms of sickness, it’s not awful advice. In terms of life, there is a chance that could go horribly wrong.
Despite getting sick often, we can be grateful that we did not have to be on campus during this minor flu outbreak.