WSU students greeted with masks, social distancing at residence halls

Omar+Brantley%2C+a+volunteer+at+Shocker+Hall%2C+wipes+down+carts+used+to+transport+residents%27+belongings+on+Monday+afternoon.+More+than+1%2C000+students+are+moving+into+residence+halls+this+month.

Khánh Nguyễn

Omar Brantley, a volunteer at Shocker Hall, wipes down carts used to transport residents' belongings on Monday afternoon. More than 1,000 students are moving into residence halls this month.

While move-in day is usually a bustling and busy day for staff and students, this year’s move-in days have been noticeably slower and quieter. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university put in place extra precautions this year to keep everyone safe and distanced.

All staff and students are required to wear masks and people have to maintain 6-foot distance between one another. Instead of one or two big move-in days, the days are staggered across a nine-day period, ending Sunday, Aug. 16. 

Only 10 students are allowed to move in each building per hour. 

Katie Austin, Housing and Residence Life’s assistant director for assessment, outreach and events, said there are pros and cons to the new rules the university set in place.

“The slow pace of everyone spread out has made it really easy to manage,” Austin said. “It’s a marathon instead of a sprint this year.” 

Even though Housing and Residence Life had to sacrifice some fun aspects move-in day, Austin said staff have focused on giving student residents a proper welcome to campus.

“I miss some of the festivities that kind of made it a very fun and welcoming event,” Austin said. “But at the same time we’ve tried to still make it seem festive, welcome students, and make their parents comfortable dropping them off here at the dorms.”

Cade Cooper, a freshman studying music education, carries some of his belongings toward Shocker Hall on Monday. He said he is looking forward to starting college and being able to perform again.
Cade Cooper, a freshman studying music education, carries some of his belongings toward Shocker Hall on Monday. He said he is looking forward to starting college and being able to perform again. (Khanh Nguyen)

Cade Cooper, a freshman majoring in music education, was among a group of students moving into Shocker Hall on Monday afternoon. He said he was impressed with the social distancing measures the university put in place. 

“It’s kind of hard to keep everyone apart,” Cooper said. “But with less people, they’ve done a good job.”

Cooper said even though the semester will be different than he initially thought, he is excited for the new opportunities he will be able to have during his freshman year. 

“I’m just glad I get to perform again,” Cooper said. “I got kind of cut off from my spring concert during my senior year, and that kind of sucks. And I’m just glad that I’m here and I have the opportunity to just be here on campus.”

Evan Fater, a freshman studying mechanical engineering, also moved into Shocker Hall on Monday. He said he felt the move-in process was done in an effective and safe way. 

“It was smoother than I expected,” Fater said. “It was really nice to move in with fewer people in the building.”

Like Cooper, Fater said he was looking forward to starting his college experience, despite the pandemic. 

“I’m kind of curious how it’s going to play out, but I’m excited nonetheless,” Fater said. 

More than 1,000 students are moving into Shocker Hall, The Flats and The Suites this month. The university added safety precautions to keep residents distanced and masked while moving in.
More than 1,000 students are moving into Shocker Hall, The Flats and The Suites this month. The university added safety precautions to keep residents distanced and masked while moving in. (Khanh Nguyen/The Sunflower)