A unique move-in day at Eastern Michigan University can’t diminish excitement of students and parents at beginning a vibrant on-campus experience

A family moving their student into the dorm

YPSILANTI – Gone were the lineups of cars. Gone was the special traffic routing. Gone were the clusters of parents and students waiting for their turn to get help and move in amid the late summer heat.

The delayed fall semester move-in to the residence halls at Eastern Michigan University offered a variety of unique and yet satisfying images under a modified procedure designed to ensure safe practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been a smooth process,” said Kaitlyn Kenney, who oversees Best, Downing and Buell residence halls for the division of Housing and Residence Life. “The students are still excited, and the parents are still excited.”

Residence Hall staff and Swoop at move-in
Residence Halls staff and Swoop were on hand to welcome the students on move-in day.

Eastern had delayed its main residence hall move-in for three weeks, to the weekend of Sept. 17-19, to further guard the health and safety of students and staff amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than concentrate much of the move-in to a single day, the University spread appointments out over a three-day period, with several families moving in hourly in each hall.

“It worked really well,” said Joe Licari, who along with his wife, Cheryl, helped move their daughter, Francesca, into her residence hall from their home in Macomb Township. “There was no waiting in the hallway or the elevator.”

The Licari family had a specific time to arrive, and – wearing masks, of course – moved seamlessly into the Francesca’s room after checking in at the front of the hall with student resident advisers Kiara Carpenter and Rebecca Lee.

Lee said that spreading move-in over three days amid was a fine idea. “We talked about the process beforehand, and it went smoothly,” said Lee, a senior education major. “It makes it very easy when you know you have a (specific) time slot and know when to come.”

Mary Anne Wilk, an area director for Housing and Residence Life, said she could sense the excitement after the move-in delay. “You can see students and parents really want to be here, because they’re obeying all the rules,” Wilk said. “And we want students to have the best experience possible, pandemic or no pandemic.”

As he does each year, EMU President James Smith greeted students and parents during the move-in process, savoring their excitement at beginning the on-campus college experience.

‘It’s been a bit of delay, but we’re excited and gratified to have you back,” President Smith said of the students during this unprecedented time. “Stay safe, and mask up.”

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves nearly 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

September 23, 2020

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Geoff Larcom