While the return to MSU this semester was near normal for many, Residence Life (ResLife) continuously adapted to changing policies and local case spikes of COVID-19. From Saturday, Aug. 21 - Tuesday, Aug. 24, thousands of first-time and returning students participated in this year’s “Move-In Weekend.” While the weekend of events went smoothly, MSU’s ResLife grappled with changing mask mandates and the increasing rates of the more-contagious Delta variant of COVID-19.


MSU took multiple precautions to protect the health of both staff and students this year during move-in. While pre-pandemic move-in happened in just a single day, MSU elected to spread out the homecoming of thousands of on-campus residents over a four-day period in hopes of reducing any possible virus transmission. Students were allotted two-hour time slots to move their belongings into their respective rooms and were asked to limit the number of accompanying family and friends as best they could. 


For the first time since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, all residence halls were filled to capacity. Austin Wyatt, a Resident Advisor (RA) in Hannon Hall and the Quads, spoke to The Exponent about some ending and continuing ResLife policies affecting students this fall. One major change that is sure to excite residents is the amendment to the “no-guest policy” that was instated last year in the residence halls. “This year, [the no-guest policy] has been rectified. So you can have guests again, but you can’t have up to like 10 people in a room like you could two years ago...but you can have the room total plus two,” Wyatt said. “You can facilitate cross-campus connections.” 


The dining halls in Miller Dining Commons and Rendezvous Dining Pavilion are back to their usual operations as well. While last school year the dining options moved back and forth between take-out only and staff-served meals, food is now self-serve and sit-down dining with friends is allowed. 


For the first time in nearly two years, the return to campus this fall was the first taste of a normal school year for many students. “Most of [the on-campus residents] seemed very excited, a lot more so than last year,” Wyatt said. RA’s are just as excited as residents for the near-normal school year, too. “I’m looking forward to being able to do events again, in-person,” Wyatt said. “I have two years worth of ideas in my head, and finally I’m able to use them.”