Eastern’s Cheney campus sprang to life last week during a well orchestrated two-day move-in event that saw 955 students arrive toting packed-to-the-brim storage containers and trendy dorm furnishings.
A sign of the times, incoming students, among them freshmen from Washington, Montana, Alaska and other states, began their college experiences masked up and showing a gritty determination to safely connect with other Eastern Eagles.
“I wasn’t sure this moment was going to happen… but it actually did. I’m happy to be here,” says Rhon Miller, an 18-year-old from Aberdeen, Washington, who is looking forward to meeting new people. Coincidentally, Miller, who plans to study business, was assisted with his move into Pearce Hall by Christian Proctor, a 20-year-old junior majoring in business management and marketing.
To ensure a safe return to residence halls and campus life, Housing and Residential Life staff worked to ensure the event remained in compliance with EWU’s Covid-19 safety protocols – including vaccine requirements, antigen testing and social distancing measures. To prevent overcrowding in outdoor walkways, indoor hallways and elevators, for example, incoming freshmen signed up for 30-minute time slots before moving into their assigned housing.
Incoming Eagles, accompanied by proud parents, grandparents, siblings and other family members, were greeted with fresh-baked cookies, move-in assistance and a lot of smiles.
In addition, over the event’s two days, some 25 staff and 70 student volunteers worked multiple shifts to ensure that all of the incoming residents were properly situated with their belongings. The team, dubbed the Movers and Shakers, helped unload vehicles and pack a mountain of possessions — including mini-refrigerators and big TVs — onto hand-trucks and carts before escorting students onto elevators and up to their assigned rooms.
Emily Thomas,18, from Colville, Washington, says coordinating furnishings and sleeping arrangements for the shared room at snyamncut took weeks of back-and-forth messaging. It was helpful that her new roommate, Thressa Coffey, also 18, is her best friend.
“We’ve been planning this for a while,” says Thomas, admitting she’s both nervous and excited for the upcoming year.
Coffey spent her senior year of high school in virtual classrooms while living at home in Spokane. Learning in the new classrooms and labs of the state-of-the-art Interdisciplinary Science center will be a welcome change for Coffey, who plans to pursue a career in forensic science.
“I’m excited to be here. It feels good because I don’t learn as well online,” says Coffey.
Jaedyn Ferreira, an 18-year-old from Lake Stevens, Washington, who was moving into snyamncut, said she is eager to take a variety of classes that will help her determine if physical therapy is the right career path. She also plans to check out the club offerings at EWU.
“It’s all new to me. I’m kind of nervous, but it’s good to be back in person,” says Jaedyn.
Sam Mahaffie, 18, of Puyallup, chose Eastern specifically for its occupational therapy program. As a swimmer and polo player who competed in the Junior Olympics, Mahaffie hopes to specialize in water therapy as a means to help people overcome mobility challenges.
“I’m definitely going to spend a lot of time exploring,” says Mahaffie, adding, “I like being able to meet everyone in person.”
Caleb Martinez, 18, of Spokane, arrived at Pearce Hall with an open mind and a drive to explore different coursework to determine his ideal career. With Roos Field so close, and the newly turfed field looking fantastic, Martinez says that “going to a football game sounds really good.”
Allie Moran, also newly arrived at Pearce Hall, likes the feel of the Eastern campus and surrounding town of Cheney. The 18-year-old Moran grew up in Mead, Washington, playing soccer, golf and lacrosse and plans to integrate her love of athletics with a marketing degree. The goal, she says, is a career in sports marketing.
“I’m so excited to be back in person. That’s my favorite part of all of this,” says Moran. She’s also got other plans, such as attending the Eastern Eagles Football home-game against the University of Montana Grizzlies, on Saturday, Oct. 2
“I’m definitely going to that football game,” Moran says.