Universities prepare for a return to post-pandemic normalcy

Atlantic University Sport, shut down by the pandemic, will return to action this coming fall.

"We think we have a pathway for sport," said Saint Mary's University athletic director Scott Gray.

Gray also said, beyond just the actual sports and games, the move to re-start AUS is a big step towards bringing stability back to everyday campus life.

"Sport is a business," said Gray, who added that varsity sports help drive sponsorship, revenues and enrollment.

Kevin Cameron has a career background in sports management and marketing. He also played university hockey for St. Francis Xavier.

"The AUS is huge part of the fabric of those universities," said Cameron. "It is definitely a sign of returning to normalcy."

Normalcy could signal more students back on campus, learning in a classroom setting.

"The announcement by AUS is a great indicator that campus life will look somewhat similar to what it did a few years ago," said Dalhousie University Student Union President Madeleine Stinson.

A local bar owner added, if students return Dalhousie and Saint Mary's in the fall, it should bring positive spin-off results in the community.

"The restaurants are busy, the bars are busier," said Shaun O'Hearn. "The stores are also busier. I think it's going to amazing for all the businesses."

Scott Gray also misses the youthful energy that university students bring to the city.

"There's a buzz that will come back," said Gray.

He missed that vibe was this past year and he hopes it returns in the fall.