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First-year students make their way into Durham

Photo Courtesy of NHPR

University of New Hampshire (UNH) students have been part of an ongoing staggered move-in process throughout the month of August in an effort to accommodate social distancing protocols in place.  

Incoming first year student Amanda Sue said that overall she felt her move into Alexander Hall went smoothly, with early drop off and COVID-19 tests. She drove an hour to UNH from Massachusetts and when she finally arrived she said, “it seems like a hassle, but it was quite simple. Early drop off made it so that I was comfortable moving in my stuff, not only with the absence of people to prevent exposure to coronavirus, but also the fear of people looming around you as you haul everything in. The drop off only took about 20 minutes, stress free. I’m semi-excited to move next week to Alexander Hall. The ‘semi’ stemming from the fact that I will have to continue to isolate myself from people and this will possibly inhibit my ability to meet new people naturally.”   

Sue said that she has only been in her dorm once for early drop off. She said, “my dad is slightly more precautious than the average being, so he felt safe when he saw that my entire floor was vacated to allow us to move in safely. There were people there where they were needed, so we got where we need to be pretty quick. My RA was putting up a “wear your mask” poster and there were several around the hall, so it gave a sense that staff will actually enforce safety measures. I thought it was innovative that they used QR codes to make videos easily accessible to show how to use locks and room numbers. That is opposed to having a personal guide. It’s incredibly efficient and a process that I think could be used even after ‘the era of quarantine.’” 

UNH promised to introduce more rigorous cleaning of UNH dorms and apartments before students moved in in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic but there were recent reports of a UNH Gables apartment’s cleanliness not being up to this standard.  

On an unofficial UNH class Facebook page, a student posted about her roommate’s move-in into a Gables apartment, stating she found the apartment to be unclean. The student, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “this is just a warning for some of you Gables residents. One of my roommates moved in today and found mold, pubic hair, and a giant American flag painted on one of the walls, which means UNH didn’t clean the Gables over break like they said they would.” Later, after the student reported the issues to housing, they sent a cleaning crew in to do a deep clean. That cleaning crew also found that one of the sinks in the apartment was clogged. UNH Housing did not respond to a request for comment. 

Incoming first-year student Josh McInerney moved in last Saturday to Alexander Hall. McInerney said, “leading up to the move in, at least for me I found it a bit stressful reading through the updates and rules the university put in place. But when my family and I began the move in, the process was smooth and seemed very thought out. The dorm itself I found was clean. I wiped everything down with wipes and they seemed clean. I liked how it really was a low density move in, of course with COVID-19 it does stink we can’t have a “normal” move in, but with the health crisis it was nice to know things were being done safely. So overall it was a good experience.” 

McInerney also added that his hall director Zoomed with everyone in the dorm before move in to go over rules in place and what to expect in the dorm. She went over the bathrooms and lounge, laundry and floor meetings. He also said that there were only about five people moving in during his time slot. “It just happened to be the day before my drop off day so they went over some of those things then and my residence hall director was working at the tents that day too so she wasn’t in the dorm because of that,” McInerney said.  

“Aside from the Zoom meeting, we received an email going over certain activities that the res hall will do, including mainly outdoor stuff and smores, and regarding the bathroom I did see signs up for how many people but I don’t think it was written down yet just put up,” McInerney said.  

As many students are eager to be back on campus, university leaders remind students that it is important to follow COVID-19 protocols to ensure a safe and healthy semester. 

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