Moving out of pandemic and onto campus


Caryana Dominguez

Rachel Meister (right) welcomes Emily Cornwall (left) into the Delta Zeta house, for move-in day.

Alicia Dougherty, Campus News Editor

Over the course of the past week new Warhawks moved onto campus, starting a new and exciting chapter in their lives transitioning from childhood to adulthood. However, this process looked hugely different just a couple  years ago. In the fall of 2020, the usual excitement of coming to campus seemed to be squelched by a towering number of necessary actions and restrictions on campus aimed to keep everyone safe and healthy. These actions and restrictions included social distancing, virtual classes, covid testing, and the cancellation of many annual gatherings on campus, making the UW-Whitewater campus a vastly different place than it had been in the past. It was not until fall of 2021 that the restrictions started to lift, and annual events came back to campus including the first Warhawk football season in two years. However, masking and testing of unvaccinated individuals continued as well as designating Clem Hall as a quarantine dorm where infected students could quarantine away from the peers.  

This fall covid restrictions have now been fully lifted, bringing new life and vibrancy to the campus community. One thing that will continue to remain the same is the “Drop and Go” process for new and returning students. This process was originally instated during the pandemic to keep with covid guidelines from the CDC, but now has been adopted permanently.  

“A lot of folks have said it’s like they’re impressed with how well it has gone and how smooth the process is,” says Complex Director of Pulliam Hall Sabina Montijo. “The drop and go process has allowed all the excitement of moving in and setting up their spaces, and it is also allowing people to take their time and not rush. It is something positive that came out of a challenging time during the pandemic which impacted all of us.” 

Housing options have also changed in the past two years since covid. Cambridge Apartments is no longer a housing option sponsored by the campus and Clem Hall will go back to offering double occupancy housing for students. The Cambridge Apartments had been a housing option for a number of years but fortunately isn’t making that much of an impact on the number of students coming to campus.  

“Our housing contracts of incoming students this year are up and not down. So we are not seeing any type of direct impact from getting out of Cambridge,” said Interim Executive Director of Housing Terry Tumbarello.  

Aside from the process of moving in, the university is taking initiatives to make sure incoming and returning students are acclimated to life on campus. Complex director of Knilans Laparish Barnes explained the integral roles that RAs play helping students become a part of the campus community. Special programing, group activities, taking their groups to lunch, and taking students to the bookstore are only a handful of ways RAs make a difference in students’ lives. This year Barnes feels is a particularly special and critical time for new and returning students.  

“I think this year is likely to be the most defining year for students in the history of higher ed.

Elise Moran (right) and Paige Alexander (left) help out as key coordinators for University Housing. (Caryana Dominguez )

Research shows that during the pandemic when students had to be virtual and were deprived of those massively valuable moments, we see a lot of students wanting to be involved and wanting to be back on campus.” 

Also, since the pandemic there are more initiatives in place toward providing more mental health resources on campus including 24-hour trained counselors on campus for students experiencing a crisis. RAs have also been trained in guiding students to mental health professionals if needed   

“We have had trained professionals from UHCS [University Health and Counseling Services] come and talk with them through certain tactics and things that they can do. But the beautiful thing about this is not only have they been trained to be more effective for these types of scenarios, but they have been trained on the whole idea of boundaries and understanding that we do not expect them to be counselors because a lot of them want to be superheroes,” said Barnes. 

It is safe to say that much has changed since the pandemic. We may never be able to fully go back to the “normal” we once knew, but what is for certain is that UW-Whitewater continues to do its best to cater to the needs of its students in the coming semesters as classes of students move to campus and out of the pandemic.