Over Labor Day weekend, 165 FAMU students packed up and moved their belongings into a new dorm room and adjusted to living in a new residence hall. Due to the long-anticipated cancellation and no-show rate for the fall term, Paddyfoote Complex and Truth Hall are now closed to consolidate vacancies into other facilities.
Jennifer Wilder, director of University Housing, had already planned to close Paddyfoote and Truth this semester. But plans changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of Gibbs Hall led to the decision to make every room a single.
“University Housing did not make this decision lightly,” Wilder said. “[We] provided the opportunity for residents to give us their top two building preferences of where they would like to live based on availability.”
Most residents were moved into Polkinghorne Village East and West, Young, Sampson and Palmetto South. FAMU also provided the students with moving assistance to make the transition easier.
“We picked this week because of the long holiday weekend and to give people an extra day to get settled into their new space before classes resume on Tuesday,” Wilder said.
Some students have had a successful transition into a new residence hall. Jada Haywood, a first-year food science major, is excited to be living in a new dorm with a suite mate.
“I actually didn’t mind the change,” Haywood said. “I got moved into a better dorm with better amenities. My only concern was that it was more expensive.”
Like Haywood, many other students were concerned about having to pay the difference in housing rates. But University Housing guarantees that students who moved from Paddyfoote and Truth will continue to pay the Paddyfoote and Truth rates.
Resident Assistants have also done their best to ensure students feel at home in their new dorms by helping whenever it’s needed and answering any questions students may have. Destiny Gaines, an RA for Village East, has welcomed her new residents with support.
“As an RA, it is my job to fulfill the needs of the resident no matter how serious the situation is,” Gaines said. “I made sure to let them know that I am here for them if they simply want to talk.”
Gaines is aware that this is a challenging time for students already and their transition into a new dorm can possibly make things more difficult. Gaines said that some of her new residents are dealing with frustration, upset parents and unanswered questions that add to the stress of being a college student.
Another concern many residents and RAs have is how the increase in students living in their residence hall will affect COVID-19 safety measures and social distancing. Prior to Paddyfoote and Truth closing, residence halls already had a problem maintaining social distancing and students wearing masks regularly.
“We as RAs do everything we can in order to follow the CDC guidelines, but the residents have to make the decision to do it as well,” Gaines said.
Students, RAs and the housing staff have been coping with the changes in the past week to the best of their abilities despite the many obstacles they have faced.
“While we know it was not easy to move during the second week of class, we appreciate the cooperation of residents in this process,” Wilder said.
Students with other questions and concerns will be addressed on an individual basis after they have contacted University Housing.