Ripon College sign

During a “normal” year, Ripon College would have been echoing with the sounds of a thousand Badger Boys from across the state of Wisconsin.

This year? Quieter, both on campus and off.

But this isn’t just affecting one’s ears on campus.

A certain amount of spillover traffic from summer events such as Badger Boys typically held on the Ripon College campus is absent in downtown Ripon and beyond.

Why? Because Ripon College opted to cancel all on-campus activities, including camps, conferences and celebrations, through the remainder of the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a decision that has a small, but noticeable, impact both on the college and the community as the college takes steps to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.

Ripon College estimates it would have seen about 2,600 guests on campus over the course of the summer, 1,850 of whom would have been overnight guests.

That’s not going to make or break downtown Ripon, but it doesn’t help.

“It’s pouring salt into the wounds because there’s no way to offset that loss of visitor traffic,” Ripon Main Street Manager Craig Tebon said, adding that this is the kind of problem communities everywhere are facing.

Read the full story in the June 25, 2020 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

Ian Stepleton is the editor of the Ripon Commonwealth Press, and been with the paper since September 2000. Starting with fall 2016, he also is an adjunct professor of journalism at Ripon College, and advisor to the college's newspaper, the College Days.

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