New year means new housing decisions

Most classes moved online, students left choosing between home or campus

Kyle Morrison, News Editor

On-campus move in is looking a lot different than it traditionally has in the past. Typically, first year students would arrive on campus the week before classes started to move into their dorm and complete orientation in large groups. Returning students would move into their dorms or apartment in the assignments they received in the previous Spring quarter.

2020 will be quite different. With COVID-19 still very present and active in the Seattle community, SPU has had to shift much of their curriculum online, in order to encourage social distancing. With more online classes comes less of a need for housing students on campus, and with the pandemic still ongoing, campus housing will look much different than it has in years past, as SPU attempts to comply with King County health guidelines.

a student packs up their car to move.
Move in this year is highly adapted with new guidelines limiting how many people can help students move their belongings and enter on campus housing areas.

Those utilizing the online route can stay home and take their classes remotely. Those coming back to campus will be expected to follow the framework SPU has put in place to cut down the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This includes the disallowing of physical contact or any physical interactions within six feet, as well as a face covering mandate.

So why do some students choose to stay home and others choose to come back to a campus with very strict social distancing guidelines?

“I decided for my mental health, but also for my safety, it would be best for me to stay home,” said junior Tyler Gagnon. “It wasn’t an easy choice at all, but I figured I had to do what was best for me.”

Gagnon was an RA in Ashton, which would mean he would have been tasked with regulating all the new rules and holding himself to the highest standard of the rule book.

“I decided to come back to campus and be an RA because of the importance of serving others, especially in a time like this,” said second year Austin Freeman over text. “Encouragement goes a long way in challenging times and I look forward to providing that to my residents.”

Freeman is hoping to welcome his 20 residents this fall over Zoom instead of the usual 25 that his floor would normally hold, this is still much more residents than RA’s in the traditional dorms will host. This is because the two suite style dorms, Emerson and Arnett, are still holding doubles, while the communal halls, Ashton and Hill, will only be allowing one person per room, cutting their capacity roughly in half. 

Two girls walk toward their apartment with a suitecase
Third year students move into their on-campus apartment early on September 6th. (Keelan Long)

“I’m staying home because it’s easier for me financially and with SPU’s almost tyrannical social distancing rules I’d basically be confined to my room,” said third year Alec Llamas over text. “Rather be at home in the sun than on campus in my room. 

Other students are excited to see old friends and get back to a normal class routine, even if it’s all from a six foot distance. 

“I decided to come back to school because I could not focus on online school at home.” said second year Amelia Navarro over text. “I also missed my friends.”

Campus will feel different this Fall. Things will be more distant and smiles will be hidden behind masks. But students will bring energy back to Third and Nickerson.

“I think it’s important for SPU to offer a safe and effective environment where students can thrive, whether that’s on campus or from home,” said junior Hayley Turner. “As an RA, I felt compelled to return and help make campus a place where students feel supported, make connections, and still have fun.”