Ranked: NYU Returns’ COVID emails

Ranked by entertainment value, not usefulness.

Sabrina Choudhary and Joey Hung

Let’s be honest, who reads NYU Returns’ COVID-19 emails anymore? They’ve been flooding our inboxes since January 2021, blurring together and recapping the same information — or lack thereof. But if you open those emails instead of marking them as spam, you’ll find that they’ve been trying to be hip with the kids in their desperate attempts to grab students’ attention. We ranked five of this semester’s emails and five from spring 2021. Our criteria? How %$&#ing silly they sound, not how much we learned about NYU’s policies. Enjoy! ?

#10 – Do I need to present something different than the Daily Screener to get into NYU athletic facilities? (Sept. 1)

The email from Sept. 1 addressed the difference between the Daily Screener and the Vax Pass. (Staff Illustration by Manasa Gudavalli)

Informative and straightforward. And that’s what makes this email painfully dry. It lacks the spice of the other emails on this list. Where’s the flavor? The cheekiness? It didn’t put a smile on our faces or teach us a new vocabulary word or anything — @readers: You’ll get that joke later! If you’re going to send us emails we didn’t order, at least serve the best you’ve got.

#9 – I’m hungry. Where am I allowed to eat? (Oct. 6)

The email from Oct. 6 listed out the few permitted locations where students can dine. (Staff Illustration by Manasa Gudavalli)

BOOOOOOO. This is the NYU equivalent of Marie Antoinette’s let them eat cake. We’re starving and they!! don’t!! care!! They left us for the ditches ): Guillotine behavior. Il s’en fout!

#8 – Daily Screener Wonkiness (Sept. 13)

The email from Sept. 13 addressed a technical issue with the Daily Screener not recognizing vaccination documentation of students. (Staff Illustration by Manasa Gudavalli)

“I’m fully compliant ????? with the University’s ??? vaccination requirement ???, but when I went to use the Daily Screener today ??????, instead of the typical Green Pass screen ✅?, I got a screen that said that I don’t ??‍♀️? have an approved vaccination/exemption ❌? on file. What’s up with that????”

First off ??, we apologize ???, and we’re working ?‍♀️??  to fix the pRoBleM ??????.”

#7 – Whiskey Tango Foxtrot — why can’t I get into my building today? (March 1)

The email from March 1 addressed a change made to the Daily Screener that temporarily prevented eligible students from accessing NYU facilities. (Staff Illustration by Manasa Gudavalli)

A little weak. NYU wanted to say “WTF” but Whiskey Tango Foxtrotted out of it. Also, they apologized for changing the Daily Screener protocol without telling us. Somehow, we aren’t convinced that they’re all that sorry. Don’t worry though, we weren’t expecting them to be!

#6 – (M)ask, and You Shall Receive (May 20)

The email from May 20 permitted students visiting other dorms within the same residence hall. (Staff Illustration by Manasa Gudavalli)

Just a simple email informing that NYU students had to continue wearing masks into June, but the pun is cute. Also, this was THE email that permitted students to visit each other within a residence hall. The students within their respective dorms got to know each other really well that semester! ???

#5 – Skip the Trip (March 12)

The email from March 12 encouraged students to refrain from traveling during spring break. (Staff Illustration by Manasa Gudavalli)

Remember when they told us not to travel for spring break 2021? And the argument for why we should stay was: “It’s New York.” Yes, it IS New York and we want to be in Miami! Sounds like they needed a vacation too.

#4 – What’s a nice way to tell someone to put their #$!^ing mask on? (Sept. 7)

The email from Sept. 7 suggested word choices options to remain polite when asking someone to put their mask on. (Staff Illustration by Manasa Gudavalli)

“You’re at NYU, so you’re officially a New Yorker, which means that by now you’ve probably absorbed the courtly good manners for which New Yorkers are world renowned,” NYU’s email said. WHO wrote this??? ?? BOY EYE — ? Sarcasm game??? ?? ?and NOT gatekeeping New Yorker status? Soft “yuhh.” 

AND THE NEXT LINE TOO: “You don’t have to go full-on Downton Abbey, but for the sake of harmony on campus, as well as safety, when you see someone without a mask, you could try saying” a million other things than “put your freaking mask on!” What in the Gen X ?.

WE APPRECIATE YOU NYU ❤️. You always make us laugh <3 Live, Laugh, Love.

#3 – Why the %$&# can’t I get into my building today? (Jan. 27)

The email from Jan. 27 addressed possible reasons for not getting a pass on the Daily Screener. (Staff Illustration by Manasa Gudavalli)

This is the first email where NYU yelled at us. They finally realized that swearing is edgy and edginess is effective. It gave character development, dom energy… Love it, NYU. Give us more!

#2 – What the $#!% are you doing with the Binx test kits? (March 3)

The email from March 3 urged students to turn in Binx kits, the COVID self-testing kit, on time. (Staff Illustration by Manasa Gudavalli)

Everything about this email is hilarious. NYU sent an email to the entire student body with the subject line “Quick Question” instead of the usual “Quick Answer” to ask why students were hoarding their testing kits. “We’ve got to admit — we’re a little perplexed,” the email said. They use the word “please” four times. They sound so Tired. Aww! ??? So are we. Hang in there <3

#1 – What’s the meaning of “peripatetic”? (Oct. 15)

The email from Oct. 15 introduced the new location of NYU’s testing center, which had moved from 20 Cooper Sq. to the Jeffrey S. Gould Welcome Center, located at 50 West 4th St. (Staff Illustration by Manasa Gudavalli)

NYU’s testing center moving down the street should be a very simple announcement, right? We just want to know what went through their heads to approach it like this because??? We did not need to know the meaning of pEriPateTiC ?. We’re not going to remember it — we can’t even pronounce it — but you know what, babes? Thank you. Thank you for contributing this obscure word to our $74k a year curriculum. It’s teachable moments like this that make it all worthwhile. #Student4Lyfe #GoViolets ??‍???

A version of this story appeared in the Oct. 25, 2021, e-print edition. Contact Joey Hung at [email protected] and Sabrina Choudhary at [email protected].