Pandemic precautions will significantly change the process of moving into University of Nebraska–Lincoln residence halls in 2020.
The university expects about 5,500 students will move into its 14 residence halls by Aug. 16.
With about 4,000 of the new arrivals anticipated between Aug. 13 and Aug. 16, the university for the first time is instituting curbside move-in. To speed the unloading process and reduce crowding in the hallways, it has contracted with University and Student Services, a national company that specializes in moving residence hall students. Company crews will unload students’ belongings from their cars and deliver their items to their rooms.
Along with promoting safety, the new system should make move-in day less stressful for families as they part with their students, said Keith Zaborowski, University Housing’s associate director for operations and support. About three-fourths of the new residents are first-year students, who are in most cases required to live on campus.
“First and foremost, safety is our number one goal,” Zaborowski said. “We want to promote social distancing, less contact with others and minimize touching of shared surfaces for students and parents.”
“We also recognize that move in is a significant rite of passage for students and their families,” he said. “Parents won’t be carrying so much into their students’ room and they can have more time to help their students settle in. They could have time for a shopping run or lunch together, instead of waiting in elevator lines. We think move-in will be less stressful because of that.”
Hiring the moving company also avoids the need to recruit and train about 120 student volunteers, which would be problematic in light of COVID-19 uncertainties.
Another change for those arriving Aug. 13-16 is that they will check in at the Bob Devaney Sports Center to pick up their NCard, sign University Health Center paperwork and pick up their textbook orders before getting packets with their room key card and other Housing information. This will provide students a physically distanced opportunity to complete processes that would ordinarily be handled at New Student Enrollment, which could not be held in person this summer because of the pandemic, and to eliminate start-of-semester lines in the University Bookstore.
Students have been assigned specific move-in times based upon their hall and floor assignments and Zaborowski emphasized that it is crucial that they adhere to those times. They are asked to arrive at Devaney 20-30 minutes before their appointments. After students check in, they will be given a hang tag for their rearview mirror and directed to move their vehicle to queues set up in a parking lot outside Devaney. They will be guided to their assigned hall in groups of eight, every 15 minutes early in the day when halls’ upper floors are being filled and every 10 minutes later in the day as the process shifts to lower floors. The movers start with the upper floors and allow more time for them because elevators and distance slow the process.
Students are asked to follow certain guidelines to keep move-in moving smoothly. They are limited to two guests each to assist them. They should not use U-Hauls or trailers to move their belongings. If they have more than one vehicle, the second one must be parked in an assigned garage and items from that vehicle cannot be moved into the student’s room until after regular move-in ceases at 5 p.m. Students and their families are requested to use the stairs so that the movers can have full access to the elevators. Items will be transported into rooms using linen carts, and students are asked to pack fragile items carefully.
Students from out-of-state who are arriving in Lincoln via plane will need to arrange their own transportation to the Devaney Center to check into housing. Transportation from Devaney to their assigned residence halls will be provided.
Students arriving before Aug. 13 or after Aug. 16 will check directly into their residence hall at their assigned date and time. This includes students who are moving to different rooms after living on campus for summer school, who will move to their new assignment Aug. 5-8; and a few hundred student workers or participants in early programs such as First Huskers and Engineering Readiness, who will arrive Aug. 9-12. Students who can’t comply with their assigned move-in times are asked to contact University Housing to make alternative move-in arrangements.
“Our team is extremely excited to welcome students and families to campus,” said Dustin Rollins, assistant director for residential education. “We look forward to implementing the new curbside move-in and offering a residential experience that ensures students are safe, healthy and engaged throughout the upcoming academic year.”