Things (mostly) normal as freshmen move in to UMass dorms

Aug 28, 2021

Carts full of ramen packs, figuring out which bed to sleep in, and planned trips to Target for last-minute supplies — after a mostly quiet year inside the residence halls, dorm life is back at UMass Dartmouth.

The first-year Corsairs arrived at their new living quarters Aug. 28, with many of the Class of 2025 moving into Balsam and Spruce Halls, which were opened last fall to a very limited number of students amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It was very thinly populated for obvious reasons,'' Chancellor Mark Fuller said. “Things were tough really at all higher ed institutions, so it’s great to see the students back on campus.”

Much like any normal year, it was quick and orderly chaos in front of the new dormitories as volunteers, RAs, and university employees clad in yellow shirts helped guide families through the move-in process.

Some families even had some moving assistance from members of the university’s football team.

“[The university] let us come in two weeks early, so this is one of the ways we can say thank you for that,” Head Coach Mark Robichaud said. 

After seeing around 800 students on campus last fall, the campus is back in full — with approximately 2,500 Corsairs living in Dartmouth to kick off the fall semester.

Among those students is Jordan Joseph of Wrentham, who moved into Balsam Hall.

The incoming accounting major said he wasn't too nervous to be out on his own.“I’m actually really excited,” Joseph said.

His mom, Kierrah Leger, was also excited, especially since she was a big fan of the dorm room.

“Dartmouth’s rooms rock,” she said. “It’s clean, there’s elevators, and the building is so new.”

Erica Ashman, an incoming business student from Hudson, is also looking forward to her life living in Dartmouth.

“It’s a really nice campus,” she said.

While this year feels more normal compared to the start of 2020’s fall semester, Covid restrictions remain at the university.

With transmission of the virus remaining high amid the Delta variant surge, masks are required inside campus buildings, along with common areas inside the dorms.

Students, faculty and staff must also be vaccinated in order to be on campus — although there are religious and health exemptions.

Those who are exempt must get tested for the virus on a regular basis.

“We’re trying to create a really safe environment,” Fuller said. “We’re in pretty good shape now — it’s going to be great to get classes kicked off here.”