Underclassmen make plans for winter following University announcement


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Willard Residential College. This Winter Quarter, undergraduate students will return to campus housing.

Olivia Alexander, Reporter

Underclassmen are making plans for housing following University President Morton Schapiro’s Oct. 28 announcement that the University would welcome first- and second-year undergraduate students to campus for Winter Quarter.

When SESP freshman Armaan Ajani checked his email inbox that afternoon, he said had already heard the rumors — yet reading Schapiro’s words was still surprising.

“Getting (the news) in writing was a little bit disbelieving,” Ajani said. “Just because he promised on-campus (housing) for Fall Quarter, and then (the decision) ended up being reversed.”

Yet, Ajani quickly chose to confirm his winter housing contract. He plans to live on campus in Willard Residential College starting the first week of January.

Ajani said he made his choice with schoolwork in mind, thinking it will be easier to focus on his studies if he is away from home.

Still, Ajani did not fail to consider Northwestern’s COVID-19 measures when deciding whether or not to come to campus. While he might be concerned about the food he will get in quarantine housing, Ajani said the University has done a “good job” of containing the virus and is confident the policies for COVID safety “are working.”

Over the past four weeks, however, the University’s number of confirmed COVID cases has risen. The week of Nov. 9 through Nov. 15, NU reported 78 new positive cases, the most in a single week yet.

Not all freshmen and sophomore students made plans for winter with such ease. Communication sophomore Cameron Barnes said she is still solidifying her winter living arrangements.

Though Barnes is still confident about living in Evanston, she said she is thinking about living in an off-campus apartment with friends. She said living at home in Belleville, Ill., was “kind of nice,” but she hopes to have “the adulting experience rather than (just) the student experience” this coming Winter Quarter, and part of that is living on her own.

Ultimately, Barnes said her primary reason to move to Evanston is the possibility of attending hybrid or in-person classes. She believes education is better in person, and she said she doesn’t want to miss out on any opportunities while living at home

For Weinberg freshman Mayán Alvarado-Goldberg, the decision to live on campus will also come more easily when in-person instruction resumes. She said she made the decision to stay at home in Los Angeles, Calif., this winter, knowing that remote learning is going to be difficult, regardless of her location.

“If I went and there were just still online classes, I feel like I would still be struggling there,” Alvarado-Goldberg said.

Alvarado-Goldberg is also concerned that navigating safe plans to return home for breaks would be complicated for her family. Alvarado-Goldberg said she lives with her immediate family as well as her grandmother, who is high-risk for the virus. Ultimately, she is trying to keep in mind those she lives with, she said.

Alvarado-Goldberg said her situation isn’t what she expected going into college but that it’s okay with her. Being around her family and friends also helps with staying home, she said.

“I feel like I have everything I need right here,” Alvarado-Goldberg said.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @oliviagalex

Related Stories:

Northwestern to bring underclassmen to campus this winter

No tuition reduction, dorms to be at half capacity as University plans to allow all undergraduates to campus this winter

Students make plans for holidays amid campus COVID-19 case spikes