After months of planning and preparation, the Residence Life staff at Meredith has welcomed hundreds of students over the course of the last couple weeks. Though they are more excited than ever to see new and returning faces of eager Meredith students, the health and safety of all remains a top priority. The Director of Residence Life, Heidi LeCount, lead the way in ensuring a safe and exciting return to campus for residents.
How will on-campus living look this year? In what ways is it different and in what ways is it the same?
The Residence Life staff will be working to build community among the residents, which is a goal every year. It will look different this year because some may be in small groups, some may be virtual. We want residents to engage with one another but in safe ways such as being outside or with just a few friends. Community spaces in the residence halls are being reconfigured to allow them to be used while maintaining fixtures that can be sanitized.
Overall, the most significant aspect of living on campus this year that will look the same is the care and support the Residence Life staff will provide. The Resident Assistants (student staff) and Residence Directors (full-time staff) will be ready to provide information about resources, getting involved in the community, and ways to be academically successful. The director and administrative assistant in the main office are also available for support.
What steps are being taken to ensure the health and safety of campus residents?
A group of campus administrators has worked diligently over the summer to create Community Standards that every Meredith College student, faculty, and staff members will be asked to adhere to. With everyone’s effort to maintain a safe environment, we show that we all care for one another in the campus community. These standards include following the Three Ws: wait six feet apart, wear a mask, and wash hands regularly. We’ve also implemented the use of CampusClear, a free mobile app that allows members of our community to self-screen for symptoms on a daily basis.
How was move-in day adapted it to make it an enjoyable yet safe experience for students?
This year, incoming students moved in over multiple days. This allowed more opportunity to remain physically distant from one another and ample access to elevators. Orientation Crew members stood along the front drive welcoming the newest Meredith students and providing directions to residence halls. Numerous staff members were involved in creating this year’s move in plan including staff from Residence Life, the Dean of Students, Student Leadership and Service, First Year Experience, and Campus Police. We are all invested in ensuring our new students know how welcome they are here and how happy we are to have them on campus.
Are there ways that Meredith’s smaller size is beneficial this year?
One positive aspect of the Meredith College residence halls is that most rooms are configured as suites with two double rooms sharing a bathroom. Each bathroom will be shared by two to four residents. Larger institutions are faced with managing community bathrooms and physical distancing where Meredith College is not. Meredith College also has smaller residence halls, which can make it easier to have a sense of community among residents. Having classmates a few doors down is not uncommon at Meredith. Residents have easier access to friends and classmates within their residence hall.
What else do you want people to know about living on campus this year?
All residents are asked to do their part in keeping the community safe. By following the Community Standards, each resident is agreeing to do what she can to protect herself and others.