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Students find happy new normal back in dorms

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Liyah Ferris, freshman biology major and Citrus Hall resident, describes her experience living in the dorms as exciting and convenient. She said that following COVID-19 guidelines is important for those living on campus./ Photo by Jingyao Liang

Liyah Ferris, freshman biology major and Citrus Hall resident, describes her experience living in the dorms as exciting and convenient. She said that following COVID-19 guidelines is important for those living in the dorms. / photo by Jingyao Liang

Abelina Nuñez
Social Media Editor

Most of us are back on campus, and students living in all three campus dorms. 

But as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, things are not exactly back to pre-pandemic normal. Instead on-campus life is finding a new normal. 

Carina Baca, Citrus Hall resident assistant and senior psychology and creative writing major, has started her fourth year living in the dorms  – where she stayed even through the worst of pandemic lockdowns.  

“Before the pandemic living at the dorms was not much different than now except for the regulations on masks and in-person gatherings,” Baca said. “I think there’s still a sense of community that the pandemic can’t take away from housing at La Verne, which is why I continue to be an R.A. for the second year.”

Baca said being an R.A. lets her help the residential community have the best time living on campus.

 “It is a very rewarding position,” she said.

This year is a new opportunity to build a community with her residences since she could not last year and thinks it should not be taken for granted, Baca said. 

“I think it’s more important than ever to make sure our residents feel that La Verne is their home away from home (to) build trust and life-lasting relationships with others,” Baca said. 

Some new students were nervous about moving into the dorms for the first time and living independently, but once they settled in, they were happy to hang out with new friends.

Kiara Hulon, Citrus Hall resident and sophomore biology major, said she  feels a sense of freedom, independence, and life experience possible only when living away from home. Though she doesn’t forget safety protocols. 

“I wash my hands regularly and put on hand sanitizer before and after I leave,” Hulon said. “I wipe down my things everyday and make sure that I don’t stand too close to people.”

Naty Castellon, Citrus Hall resident and sophomore kinesiology major, is also enjoying dorming so far.  Castellon also said she feels a new sense of independence. 

Liyah Ferris, Citrus Hall resident and freshman biology major, said life is less stressful living in the dorms, and it is more convenient for her to hang out with her friends since they all live there too. 

Jashelle Ranson, Oaks resident and sophomore photography major, lived in the dorms last year when it was pretty quiet. Now she said she loves having more people around. 

“I would dorm again because it’s fun, and you meet someone new every day,” Ranson said. “Despite everything, I knew this was the best decision for me at this point in my life.”

“I’m almost speechless,” said Eugene Shang, director of residence life. “I am really happy that students are back,” 

Shang said he missed the students when they were gone.

The University has strict policies for residences like mandatory masks and no outside visitors to keep everyone COVID safe.

Before students could move into the dorms, they needed to sign a COVID-19 Housing Policies Agreement Form, agreeing to follow all protocols designed to keep everyone as safe as possible, and noting their understanding of the risks connected with communal living during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abelina Nuñez can be reached at abelina.nunez@laverne.edu.

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