Move-in 2020

Move-in 2020


It was a little after 9 a.m. and sophomore Ashley Campbell was already dancing.

“I have 9 a.m. energy,” she said as she began greeting members of Rowan University’s Class of 2024 at the cart station during the first official move-in day for freshmen on Friday, August 21.

A year ago, Campbell, a psychology major, was herself a freshman moving into Holly Pointe Commons. This year, she is a resident assistant in the complex, helping new students make their way at Rowan.

movein buttonEach year, Freshman Move-in Day is a big, one-day event at Rowan. This year, due to COVID-19, move-in for all residential students is spread out daily through August 30. Each student made a move-in appointment and has two hours to move in.

Even though most of Rowan’s classes will start virtually in the fall, students still had the option to live on campus.  Altogether, 4,537 students, including 1,353 freshmen, will live in residence halls this fall. That number represents about 70 percent of the University’s housing capacity. Density has been reduced to follow necessary safety protocols due to COVID-19.

But the protocols aren’t dampening the enthusiasm for freshmen or those, like Campbell, who serve them. While students will be limited in the visitors they can have in residence halls and must wear their masks when they’re not in their rooms, excitement for the new school year is high, many students said.

“I was worried Rowan might cancel move-in,” said freshman instrumental music education major Matthew King, after moving in his belongings, including his prized alto sax. “I’m excited about meeting new people.”

Because of social distancing protocols, only two people can assist each resident to move in. King, of Mount Ephraim, was accompanied by his mom and step-father while his grandparents waited at the car.

“I’m not nervous at all,” mom Kathy said. “I’m glad the kids are getting an opportunity to start the semester this way. It’s good for their socialization and their mental health to be on campus.”

Every student moving in received a Rowan Thrive backpack that includes a Rowan mask, hand sanitizer, a thermometer and health and safety information. Before they can access the University’s network, everyone on Rowan’s campus must report on their well-being through a daily screening. The University has testing and contact tracing in place should a student become ill. Rowan’s plan, with detailed FAQs, can be found on the Return to Rowan web site

As his daughters and his wife scurried up to a room in Holly Pointe Commons, John Bollendorf waited at his truck. Daughter Alyssa is a freshman radio/television/film major. Her sister, Samantha, an alternate student trustee, is a senior biomedical engineering major. Both are pursing the Thomas N. Bantivoglio Honors Concentration in the Honors College.

“Our move-in experiences have all been great,” Bollendorf said. “Alyssa was accepted to Syracuse, Ithaca and other schools, but she decided to stay close to home. She’s seen what Rowan has done for Samantha.  We’re ‘Rowan in’ all the way.”

The move-in plan basically involved taking what has been a well-oiled machine for years and rebuilding it, said Jim Waddington, director of housing systems and logistics.

Historically, hundreds of volunteers have helped at move-in. This year, due to social distancing, volunteers could not be utilized. The Residential Learning/University Housing team built a plan based on each building to ensure proper safety and social distancing.

“We did a lot of calculations to get to a threshold we are comfortable with for each building,” Waddington said.

During each two-hour move-in window, fewer than 30 students move in at a time.

Campbell, who was joyful as she sanitized move-in carts three hours into her shift, can’t wait.

“Right now, students can’t have the visitors that have been allowed in the past, but that might actually help them build a stronger sense of community,” she said. 

“I’m telling my residents, ‘Stick together and stick to the rules because what you do will affect the entire student body.’ There are a lot of life lessons to be learned during COVID-19.

“This is definitely a unique situation,” Campbell added. “But they can make it work. They’ve got this.”