Moving out, moving on

Classes pushed to online for spring, students left to decide where to live

Julia Herman, Assistant News Editor

Blake Dahlin
Sophmore Haley Ernst moved out of Moyer Hall after SPU moved to online instruction for the spring quarter.

Usually, toward the end of winter and into spring quarter at Seattle Pacific University, with the sun shining over campus, Tiffany Loop is filled with masses of people playing with Frisbees and laying in the grass, letting the warmth soak into their skin.

Not this year.

Tiffany Loop is empty. There is no line piling outside of Gwinn Commons during the lunch rush. Closed doors line the floors of dormitory halls. The once lively campus now seems eerily quiet.

There is a sadness that is enveloping the SPU community as many pack their belongings to move back home and out of the dorms. Due to the move from in-person classes to online because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many students are choosing to withdraw from housing, leaving the dorms and apartments significantly emptier.

Director of Resident Life Gabe Jacobson sent an email out to students on March 13 stating that all students were allowed to continue to live in on-campus housing. However, if students choose to withdraw, they were to be moved out by April 5 or plan an alternate date with housing.

Jacobson empathized with the weight that comes with making this decision.

“We recognize that there is a lot happening during this time and want to do our best to work with students as they make decisions for Spring,” Jacobson wrote.

For SPU students, whether it was their first year in the dorms or their senior year in the apartments, the extra two weeks of spring break was used to work through their feelings and figure out what spring quarter will look like for them.

Sophomore Marissa Zappone was disappointed to hear that her last year in the dorms was going to be cut short.

“I moved out on Tuesday, March 17. I am sad and disappointed, as well as frustrated,” she said. “I absolutely loved the community in the dorms this year, it’s something that I will really miss throughout the next quarter and probably next year too.”

The last week on campus was strange for Zappone as she came to terms with the fact that it would be her last time on campus until fall quarter.

“It was really strange, it feels unfinished and there are a lot of plans that I had for spring quarter that I won’t get to do,” Zappone said.

Zappone ultimately made the choice to move out of her dorm because her parents were worried about COVID-19 and her proximity with others while living in the dorms.

The decision on whether to continue living on campus or to move home has not been an easy one for many students.

Students were told that they had to make this decision by March 25, but housing is willing to work with students who are still in the process of deciding. Housing also noted that if students have withdrawn and want to reapply for housing for spring quarter they may do so.

Sophomore Caitlyn Schnider said she felt stressed and confused with trying to decide what the right choice was for her.

Schnider wanted to stay to continue working and be in the city that she now calls home, but the thought of paying for housing when classes are online held her back.

Blake Dahlin
Peace Igbonagwam (left) and David Njeri (right) help their friend and fellow SPU student Shiasia Carter (not pictured)move out of Moyer Hall. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students are choosing to move back home for the remainder of the school year.

She ultimately chose to live at home to save money and be with her family. This period of adjustment has been difficult for her and she is navigating it to the best of her abilities.

“It has been strange in the sense that no one really knows how to feel and it seems like reality has been altered in some way due to the fact that everything is so up in the air and we’re all still taking time to adjust,” Schnider said.

Hill Hall resident and sophomore Jordan Mielbrecht chose to move out of the dorms for spring quarter due to financial reasons.

“It wouldn’t be worth it financially to stay in the dorms if classes were just going to be online. I figured I might as well just live at home,” Mielbrecht said.

He reflects fondly of his time in Hill, but it still is sad to think that his time there is done for the year.

“I had to do a bit of processing. There were some regrets with it,” Mielbrecht said. “Part of me is happy about the experience I had with Fifth Hill, [but] I definitely feel like I could have taken more advantage of this time in my life living with others. It’s definitely bittersweet.”