On Thursday, the first of EWU’s two residence hall move-in days, vehicles of all makes and models arrived bearing students ready to embrace collegiate life on the Cheney campus.
The newest campus residents were met by some 150 “movers and shakers,” volunteers armed with hand trucks and carts to transport the students’ residence-hall essentials to their new dormitory domiciles.
“It’s fun to see students and their first experience at Eastern,” says Jacki Tyler, assistant professor of history and director of social studies, who, along with her husband, Keith, senior budget financial analyst, helped to unload vehicles in the parking lot of snyamncut.
A total of 1,238 students — mostly new, but some returning — were set to move onto the Eastern campus. This is up from 955 students who lived in student housing last fall, number that reflects a larger freshman class and a willingness of students to embrace in-person campus life as the Covid pandemic wanes in severity.
“It’s definitely a different feel this year. I see a lot of smiling and it is more upbeat,” says Alizabeth Ashton, a 19-year-old children’s studies major who helped with move-ins for a second straight year. She will serve as the community advisor for third-floor residents at snyamncut.
The snyamncut residence hall echoed with friendly banter and laughter, a contrast to last year when students arrived masked up, with fingers crossed, as they returned to in-person instruction after months of hunkering down in front of a computer.
Obed Salgado, a 19-year-old from Grandview, Washington, helped out behind the desk at snyamncut, having arrived earlier in the week to train for a work-study position on campus. Having come from a small town just outside of Yakima, Salgado says being in a larger environment is a bit intimidating.
“I’m excited, but also kind of nervous,” says Salgado, who plans to study physical therapy and chose Eastern specifically for its DPT program.
Kobe Taylor, 18, of Yakima, arrived ready to study physical education and play club baseball. He was accompanied by his parents, Michele and Kevin, who both graduated from Eastern in 2000.
Michele is confident that Kobe will feel at home at Eastern, saying, “I’m excited because I know there are some great things to get involved in from the get-go.”
Karmen Martinez, an 18-year-old from Lynden, Washington, got plenty of help when she pulled up to Anderson Hall with her parents, Audrie and Brett Mitchell.
Martinez, who says volunteering at a school in her hometown influenced her ambition to become either an elementary teacher or an addiction counselor, chose Eastern for the strength of its education and psychology departments.
“This is what I’ve wanted to do forever,” says Martinez, who is also excited to explore campus activities and exhibits. “I know there is a lot of art stuff and that’s one of my main interests.”
Chloe Simmons, a West Seattle native majoring in communication studies and public relations, helped the new arrivals as part of a team from the Alpha Pi Sigma Sorority. “We did it last year, too, and it was really fun,” Simmons says.
Fresh off of a six-month internship at STCU’s Liberty Lake headquarters, Simmons arrived ready to volunteer and serve as a mentor to younger sorority members while fully embracing her senior year at Eastern.
While Simmons was upstairs in Anderson Hall, she found herself in the same room she had lived in when she first arrived to campus. Without missing a beat, she whipped out her iPhone to Facetime her longtime friend and former roommate Erin Conroy. A remote tour of their old digs followed. “This is so nostalgic,” Simmons says.