Move in day is looking a lot different this year at Gonzaga University

SPOKANE, Wash. — Back to school is just around the corner. Wednesday was the first official move in day at Gonzaga University.

The requirement for first and second year students to live on campus was waived this year. Still, many decided to go for the full college experience.

“I was getting really anxious thinking, there’s no way this is all going to fit in my dorm, like there’s literally no way,” said Stephanie McLaren.

McClaren is starting her freshman year at Gonzaga University. She’ll be living in the same building her brother did when he was in school.

“When I was a kid, the dorms looked a lot bigger than they do now,” McLaren said.

That’s not the only thing that’s different.

“I was definitely expecting a ton of people, long lines,” said McLaren.

This year, move in day is a lot quieter than usual.

“It almost doesn’t feel like move in day. It’s like we’re moving in all by ourselves,” said Denise McLaren, Stephanie’s mom.

That’s because staff members are trying to help parents and students feel at ease.

“We know that COVID is here. It’s in our community. Obviously it’s across the country and the world,” said Kristiana Holmes, Director of Health and Counseling Services at Gonzaga University.

Instead of having everyone move in all at once, they decided to space move in time over the course of a few days.

“They have a scheduled time and they get to stop at all of the stations,” Holmes said.

From hand sanitizing stations to free voluntary COVID-19 testing stations — It’s all in an effort to protect students, while providing them with the best experience possible.

“We’re talking to students about how they can interact with one another socially without being in a space where maybe it would be less safe for them,” said Holmes.

While it may not be ideal, McLaren is determined to start school on a positive note. She hopes others will do the same.

“This has shown us that you’ll never know what’s going to happen, so you have to take full advantage of where you are now instead of waiting for future events,” she said.

The university says nearly 2,000 students are expected to live on campus this semester. That’s 700 fewer than last year.