‘It just sucks that I have to go home.’ Students navigate dorm move-out

Gabrielle Sledge (left), a health science major and Anna Gibson, a nursing major, sit in Centennial Park at WKU on March 22, 2020. Both Gibson and Sledge agreed that the state’s government and universities are handling the crisis effectively. “Andy Beshear’s killed it,” Sledge said.

Julianna Lowe

In the afternoon of March 17, WKU students, faculty and staff received notice that face-to-face courses were being moved to an online format through the end of the spring semester. Additionally, all students living in the dorms would be required to move back home.

“We strongly encourage all students who can go home to do so,” the message from WKU President Timothy Caboni said. 

While requests for exemption were available for students who have no choice but to live in the dorms, a second email was sent out March 18 announcing plans for move-out. All residence halls would close on Sunday, March 22 at noon. 

The closure of the residence halls means students will not be permitted to live on campus for the rest of the spring semester. With the notice hitting students in the afternoon on Wednesday, moving out by Sunday at noon is a quick turnaround for most. 

“Tomorrow is my birthday,” freshman Melody Powell said, pulling a suitcase and carrying a basket out the door of Northeast Hall. “I didn’t really have a choice but to move out today.”

Powell and her friend from home came to campus on Friday morning to move her out of the dorm she had only been living in for a few short weeks.

“I’m a first semester freshman,” Powell said. “I still don’t even know where everything is, and now I have to go back to living at home. It sucks.”

Powell, who is from Elizabethtown, indicated while she never asked her parents to help her move out, it most likely wouldn’t have been an inconvenience. 

“I go home most weekends anyway, so coming up here to move out isn’t what bothers me,” Powell said. “It just sucks that I have to go home.”

The blow to students was softened by the expectation that the dorms would eventually close. After both the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville moved to online classes for the rest of the semester and asked students to move off campus, it seemed to be only a matter of time.

“I came back for the extended spring break because I kind of expected it,” Southwest Hall resident Amelia Barracca said. “I knew it was coming, so I just hung out here until it came. And it did.”

Barracca’s parents came to help her move out on Thursday when they were available, and she moved the rest of her belongings out on Friday morning. She also said it wasn’t inconvenient, just sad.

Ellie Melin, another Southwest resident, moved out Thursday morning with the help of her family. For Melin, it was something she hadn’t seen coming.

“I left a lot of important things at school,” Melin said. “I thought we were only going to be gone a week.”

While it wasn’t inconvenient for Melin’s family to come help her, she said that the process of moving out was a little different. 

“Southwest has no boxes,” Melin said, referencing the moving boxes that are usually provided for students on moving days. This time, boxes and other moving supplies were not supplied for students in order to prevent the spread of germs. 

Move-out time slots are also available after the dorms close from March 23-31 for students not currently on campus.

Features reporter Julianna Lowe can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected] Follow Julianna on social media at @juliannalowe.