New University of North Texas at Dallas students spent Saturday getting settled into their dorms and ready for the start of a new school year.
Like a typical move-in day, there was a caravan of cars and even a U-haul parked outside Wisdom Hall, but this fall it will only be home to about 56 students.
For safety, occupancy was cut by 50% and students will have their own bedroom and bathroom. Move-in was also staggered, with new students arriving Saturday and returning students coming Sunday.
“I think they’re still excited," said Director of Student Housing Dee Goines, who helped welcome people to campus. "We still have a DJ here to give them some tunes, we just don’t have our 60-person volunteer team that we would usually have."
Goines said students will get a unique welcome gift this year.
“Usually we would give out some thing like some sunglasses or a hat or T-shirt, but now it’s a mask and sanitizer and gloves. If those are the guidelines for campus, we want to equipped him with those tools,” he said.
Teams of family members did the heavy lifting Saturday, loading and rolling supplies into the residence hall.
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Martha Lynch snapped photos and made up for lost memories with her grandson, D’Arius Lynch, an incoming freshman.
“I didn’t see him walk down the aisle to take pictures and stuff like that, but it’s all good," Martha Lynch said. "It’s a new experience for all of us."
The new semester starts Monday and will be nearly completely virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It feels good, even though I can’t wait to have a roommate, but it feels good that I’m going to be safe for the semester, to make sure that I don’t get sick,” D’Arius Lynch said.
D’arius made it through senior year during COVID-19, and he has high hopes for his freshman year at UNT Dallas.
“It’s going to be a little different than what I did virtually at the end of my senior year of high school," he said. "I think it’s going to be a little bit better."