‘I’m really excited’: Thousands of Washington State University students move back to campus

PULLMAN, Wash. – The Cougs are back. Washington State University students started moving in on Friday.

Thousands of students are heading back to campus once again after a year of learning remotely.

“I’m really excited about this new chapter in my life, because it’s time for me to spread my wings, as people say,” said Alex Sauceda, a sophomore student.

Not many WSU students were able to “spread their wings” last year. Sauceda was one of them.

She told 4 News Now she was supposed to go to WSU her freshman year, but when she found out she couldn’t live in the dorms and had to learn online, she switched to community college.

“Now, it’s just like extra exciting because I’ve been waiting for this for a whole year, and it’s just really nice to be in person with everyone and get to meet new people,” she said.

Being able to be around others, that’s what some of the Cougs are excited for. The university was mostly online last year.

Freshman Ananay Joshi was scared it’d be that way again.

“I guess there was that fear in the middle of senior year because it didn’t seem like it [COVID] would end, but I mean, now it seems okay. Still need to wear some masks and stay safe. At least you have in person classes so that’s something to look forward to,” he said.

There were some in-person classes last year at WSU, but there were very few of them.

Few students were on campus, too. Brandon Brackett, the director of WSU Housing Life, said there were between 500 and 1,000 students living on campus last year. This year, he says there will be about 5,000 students there. They average between 5,000 and 6,000 people living at WSU Pullman.

The university says it’s taking several steps to keep students safe. It is asking for vaccination status, and those who are not vaccinated are required to wear masks.

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There are some dorms that can have up to three students living in them, but Brackett says they’re keeping them to one or two people per room.

Move-in practices are different, too. Students had to sign up for specific time slots to move in and they added an extra day. They don’t typically have students move in on Friday, but this year they decided to add it.

“Normally, in a normal move-in, it’s everybody comes in whenever they want. So, what would happen is we get 3,000 people at 8 a.m. on Saturday and then there’s be long lines and everybody’s crowded together,” Brackett explained.

Many would endure all these changes then go back to what school was like last year.

“I get to watch them grow and really start to give back to the university in their time here,” Brackett said. “I can think of nothing I want more in this moment. I think I speak for everybody in the university when I say this – this is something we’ve been waiting for, for a long time.”

PHOTOS: It’s move-in day for WSU students