An empty desk and bed after moving out of a Humboldt State dorm in late March 2020. | Photo by Sophia Escudero

What It’s Like Living On Campus After the Exodus

Despite Humboldt State University going digital, campus housing remains open
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Despite Humboldt State University going digital, campus housing remains open

Humboldt State University President Tom Jackson announced via email March 18 that the school would be going entirely online, and he encouraged students to vacate campus housing if possible.

“It is important we reduce the number of people on campus,” the email read. “We encourage students who can return to a home off-campus to do so. We will not displace students who are facing housing insecurities or homelessness.”

“They should have just made the choice before people left for spring break to keep it as safe as possible.”

Calista Tutkowski

Freshman Calista Tutkowski was among those who decided to move back home after learning that classes would transition online. Tutkowski considered her choice the right one for her own physical and mental wellbeing.

“It felt like things were just going to get worse and worse on campus and around the world, so if I was going to be doing online classes, I wanted to be home with my family,” Tutkowski said.

Tutkowski was frustrated with the sudden notice from the school. By the time the school sent out the notice that they were going online and encouraging students to leave the dorms, she had already gone home for spring break and was out of state. Like many other students, she had to return to campus to pick up her things, potentially putting herself and others at risk by traveling.

“They should have just made the choice before people left for spring break to keep it as safe as possible,” Tutkowski said.

Some students are still on campus. Emma Bradley-Solis is one of those who elected to remain in campus housing despite virus concerns.

“I live in Washington and it is a lot worse there,” Bradley-Solis said. “I thought it would be smarter for me to self-quarantine here.”

According to an April 7 Enrollment Management report, about 300 students remain on campus. Most of the campus facilities are closed, including the library, computer labs and University Center.

With the severely reduced numbers of students left behind, pickings are slim. There isn’t much variety left in the food selection, and many staples such as rice, pasta and fresh fruit are out when Bradley-Solis goes to the marketplace. For students who rely on J-points to eat, this is both a serious problem and a waste of the money spent on their meal plans.

“I feel like they could take care of the students still here better—like better food,” Bradley-Solis said. “We paid a lot of money for J-points.”

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