The Gustavian Weekly

Upperclassmen move back into campus: Students finally return to campus on Sept. 25th - The Gustavian Weekly

By Carter Brown - Staff Writer | October 2, 2020 | News

Last weekend, between Sept. 25 and Sept. 27, Gustavus’ upperclassmen returned to campus as they trickled in nearly one month after the arrival of the freshmen. Approximately 870 students moved in this past weekend, raising the population of students present on campus to 1,830. Director of Residential Life Anthony Bettendorf provided this approximation.
“We will have a more final number on campus after our ten day count,” Bettendorf said.
Many students are happy to be back at Gustavus, with the staff equally as excited to have them here. As students settle in and express their relief for being back on campus, Director Bettendorf and Area Coordinator for Southwest Hall, International Center, Prairie View and the Complex Abbey Lane shed some light on the move-in process, what changes were made to it and how Gustavus will be moving forward in the face of COVID-19.
One of the most important focuses that Residential Life had stated when explaining the thought that went into the changes that were made to the move-in process was the safety of students.
“We made a few changes to our process. One was asking students to sign up for a time. Two, we had students check in centrally at the Jackson Campus Center instead of in their building. We also limited the number of guests a student could have help them move in, and sent out information about expectations with regard to mask requirements before people arrived,” Bettendorf said.
These precautions were taken in order to limit the amount of people that were in the same spot at any given time to adhere to social distancing standards.
Weighing in, Lane spoke on the precautions that ResLife had taken when bringing the students back.
“Gustavus and ResLife spent a lot of time considering what to do with move-in, and even consulted health professionals in order to make these decisions,” Lane said.
When looking at the move-in, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the ever-changing rules and guidelines that need to be followed as the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve.
“I think that through the process we had to learn to be adaptable as COVID-19 guidelines from MDH changed, and the college made some adjustments to our academic calendar and how students were going to return to campus this year,” Bettendorf said.
“One of the things that we need to remember is that this is happening during a global pandemic. Things are always changing now,” Lane said.
“Part of our job – one of our most important objectives, I think –is creating a home for students, and helping students find that “home-y” feeling. If they’re back on campus and happy being here and seeing their friends, that’s great,” Lane said.
Bettendorf inputs that making sure the number of students coming in and out of each building was under control was a crucial objective.
“We wanted to make the move in process as safe as possible through controlling the number of students arriving in each building at designated times, and work to make sure that college policies around COVID-19 were followed, while safely allowing students to have help moving in,” Bettendorf said.
Overall, the move-in process went well, according to both Lane and Director Bettendorf.
“I think the speed at which some things changed made things challenging, but I think the process worked smoothly in the end,” Bettendorf said.
Most students would agree, the move-in process generally went pretty smoothly and everyone is happy to be back on campus.
“I am 1,000 percent excited to be back. I think [ResLife] did a fine job with handling COVID-19, honestly. I’m a nerd, and so I look at the stats they send out about COVID-19 and everything is about the same as when the freshmen moved in,” Sophomore Bella Sartain said.
With only 16 positive cases since initial move in, most are feeling the same.
“The only concern…I just don’t want to be sent back home, if that’s what it really comes down to,” Sartain said.
It seems as if the concerns are the same throughout the minds of many other upperclassmen.
“I was definitely excited to move back in. I had a mental block at home and I couldn’t concentrate. I feel like it was around a good time to bring upperclassmen back. If it was later there would be no point. Sooner and you have less time to prepare,” Junior Christopher Ortiz said.
“I do have concerns now that I am back on campus, but nothing new. Just COVID-19 concerns, shut down, those of the sort. I am concerned about parties being thrown and a large outbreak, but nothing that I wasn’t concerned about a month ago,” Ortiz said.
As a final word, Lane praises the hard work of the ResLife staff, especially the CFs as she claims that they were extremely instrumental in the smoothness of the move-in process that occurred last weekend.
“The move-ins would not have been as successful as they were without the CFs, people in the ResLife office and Lisa Octiga,” Lane said.
Director Bettendorf leaves a final word for the students currently on campus.
“I think there has been a learning curve as folks have been arriving on campus. I think it is important that we remember to ROAR, wear our masks, social distance, encourage each other, engage in some bystander intervention if folks are not engaging in these behaviors and continue to look for innovative and safe ways for us to build community,” Bettendorf said.

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