By Erik Kjer, News Editor Originally published in Issue 7, Volume 33 of The University Register on February 12, 2021
In addition to those students who are returning to campus for the spring semester, many first-year students are arriving on campus for the first time. Living on campus during a pandemic can be difficult and the University Register spoke with Residential Life Director TJ Ross about student life during this coming semester.
“Honestly, one of the things we want to do is just thank all of our students who lived on campus this semester. We know it’s been a challenging and unusual year, and so we just really want to thank the residents for following COVID-19 protocols and in helping us successfully make it through fall semester,” Ross said. “We really hope we can have a successful spring semester as well. We’re a student-facing office and we are open 8pm to 4:30pm Monday through Friday, so if students need anything, they can come into the office. We’re located on the ground floor of Clayton A. Gay Hall.”
Residential Life has taken notice of new students arriving on campus, and hopes its services can benefit recent arrivals.
“Our goal is really to build a strong community and help students make connections, especially for first year students coming in, getting to know other students is a really important part of the experience,” Ross said. “One of our goals this year has been safety and security, but we know we need to balance that. We don’t want students to feel isolated and so we’re working on ways that we can do that. We’re trying to figure out and focus more this semester on in person opportunities. We can help you make some of those really important connections and although it might be difficult this year, this is going to get better and we’re going to be able to do more stuff in person.”
In the coming weeks final decisions will also be made regarding the hiring process for community advisors and hall directors.
“To those who don’t get it, I would say don’t let it get you down. If you’re thinking about applying in the future, we’d be happy to schedule a time to meet with students and talk about their application and you know where maybe they could improve for next time but, in all honesty, it’s a very highly sought-after position,” Ross said. “We do get a lot of applicants; it’s oftentimes way more applicants than positions that we have. If you don’t get a position, it doesn’t mean that you had a bad interview; sometimes it is just a numbers game. If anybody has concerns and wants to talk about their candidacy, reach out to us and we’d be happy to sit down and talk about your application and the process and give you any tips and tricks for things that you might want to work on for the future.”
Residential Life is opening the housing sign-up for next fall in late February, and unlike previous years, the process will occur online. During the spring of last year, Residential Life began hosting a Minecraft server for Morris students, and students who are interested in joining can reach out to Jade Simonton. UMM Cinema is also still offering hundreds of movies and thousands of TV shows to those on campus or using the University’s VPN service at movies.morris.umn.edu.
Photo on top courtesy of ThoughtCo