With the spring semester now in full swing, the residential aspect of life at the University of Massachusetts Boston has also recommenced. Many students who lived in the UMass Boston Residence Halls during the fall semester have moved back onto campus, the Dining Hall has reopened, and the UMarket is now available to students again.
In contrast to the Fall 2019 Move In Day, move-in for the Spring semester was a much calmer event. This was mainly because the majority of residents were not moving into the Residence Halls for the first time, and also because students could choose the day and time that they wanted to move back in. In an interview, Director of Housing & Residential Life, John Sears, explained that “most students came back over this weekend [Jan. 25 and Jan. 26] and Monday,” and that he also found that over the break “students who are local come and move their belongings in, and go back home.” Sears called the spring semester move-in “busy but … manageable.”
Residents also took note of the difference between the fall and spring semester move-in. In an interview, freshman Fiona Broadie referred to the initial fall semester move-in as “hectic.” She later added over messaging that her RA Shannon “was super helpful in telling me and my floor mates about everything we needed to know about living in the dorms,” but she still referred to the fall move-in process as “overwhelming” during the interview. Contrastingly, Fiona commented that “the second time moving in was super smooth, and just like returning back, it was nice.” Fiona moved in on the Sunday before classes began.
Each floor in the residence halls had a mandatory floor meeting during the first week of the semester to review dorm policies. Sears make a quick stop at the majority of the meetings to “let [the residents] know that there’s going to be an opportunity for them to come back as sophomores if you like living here … put in a plug for the Residence Hall Association … put in a plug for the Beacon Blue Table Talk series ... and just a general how to get involved.”
In the interview, Sears highlighted the Residence Hall Association, which is the newly founded student government for the UMass Boston Residence Halls. When asked how RHA would be involved this semester, Sears commented: “We’re looking on upticking the programs that they’ll be able to offer in the spring semester.”
Though the Residence Halls themselves remained open during the entirety of the winter break with no extra charge for residents, the majority of students did not remain in the dorms, with only about 25 residents remaining during holiday periods such as during Christmas and New Years. The Dining Commons and UMarket remained closed from Dec. 20, 2019 to Jan. 26, 2020.
When asked how she felt about returning to the residence halls, Fiona said: “I feel good about it ... the winter break has been so long, so when I first walked in everything felt super weird ... but I really like living here because everything is super convenient and close-by.”
In addition to seeing returning students, the Residence Halls saw some new additions as well. According to John Sears, 69 new residents moved into the Residence Halls, some of whom are first-time freshmen at UMass Boston, and others who are transfer or international students. When asked if the same amount of people were living in the Residence Halls this semester as were living in the Residence Halls in the fall semester, Sears said “Contractually yes,” but explained that “we got a lot more demand for the spring semester this year compared to last year … but we don’t quite get up to the number of students that we had start in the fall semester.”
If any student wishes to live in the Residence Halls again next year, they should be on the lookout for an email with instructions on how to apply for housing next year sometime during the week, and be aware that the application process will occur during the first two weeks of February.
According to John Sears, in order to live in the residence halls again next semester, “you have to be a student in good standing.” Sears explained that there “can’t be any financial holes,” and that while a student’s conduct will be examined, “a clean record is not required, but we do look at more serious conduct.” Students must also maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0. According to Sears, that screening process should occur “ideally” by the third week of February, and students will be contacted during that time. If more students apply than can be accommodated, a lottery system will be put in place.