Thousands of students have arrived to the dorms at UC Merced as the university gets ready to resume classes this week for the fall semester.
Last weekend the pathways were filled with students and their families, who rolled their belongings in big blue and yellow bins to residence halls in the south and north part of the campus. A small army of staff and student workers stood by to offer assistance.
In total, the university is offering 4,200 beds for students this fall. About half of those are freshmen, according to Andrew Plumley, interim assistant vice chancellor of Housing, Dining & Residence Education. Thirty percent are second-year students and the rest are transfer students and third-year plus.
“I was sitting there going, wow, it’s quiet. It is awfully quiet, but so I’m excited to have the students back,” said Plumley. “Where my apartment is, I was hearing noise above me and I’m going, okay. Students are back.”
Move-in times were staggered to limit congestion, but the final day to move in was Sunday. Students were required to take a COVID self-test before their arrival, and were provided with an additional test once they made it to their rooms.
UC Merced students are not required to live on campus like at some other schools, but the university strongly encourages it. School officials cite studies that show living on campus is associated with higher academic performance and personal well-being. UC Merced touts easy access to academic success workshops, tutoring services, a Resident Learning Center and an Academic Excellence Community as prime benefits of living on campus.
“It’s really just making sure they don’t get shocked in terms of the workload that goes along with classes,” said Plumley. “So the support that’s built into living on campus: you have an RA living on your floor who’s an upperclassman. They’ve been through it and are there to help you. And then we have full-time, professional residence education coordinators. They’re here for emergencies on site.”
“Nationally, you lose more students that first year than any other. Just because it’s a culture shock to the students in terms of what they’re studying and then the freedoms that come along with living on campus.”
Prices run from $5,712 per semester for a four-person dorm room all the way up to $8,075 per semester for a one-person room. Triple and double rooms are also available.
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