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Westminster College’s move-in day takes on a different look this year

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Posted on Tuesday, August 11, 2020

When 325 new Westminster College students arrive on campus Thursday, Aug. 13, they will—as usual—pick up the keys to their dorm rooms, haul refrigerators, laundry baskets and plastic totes to their residence halls, string up some mini lights and say goodbye to their families. But the annual move-in day will be a little bit different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

First-year and transfer students will arrive at scheduled times staggered throughout the day in a highly-controlled process to maintain physical distancing, according to Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Gina Vance.

At check-in prior to receiving room keys, each student will undergo a temperature screening and receive a Titan Care Kit complete with two masks, a digital thermometer and hand sanitizer to support self-screening.

After receiving room keys, each student and two family members or helpers will be given a 90-minute window to unload vehicles and move personal belongings into their assigned residence hall. To maintain social distancing, student teams and campus volunteers will not be available to assist with move-in.

“We know the move to college for new students and their parents is both exciting and emotional. It is especially both this year,” Vance said. “Our orientation and residence life teams have developed fun, creative and intentional programs to welcome new students in ways that prioritize the health and safety of the community balanced with the warmth and spirit of a Westminster welcome.”

After moving their students into their new living spaces, parents will depart campus so students can begin the orientation process, which will include small-group and online sessions to aid students in the transition to college life.

To stay within the 250-person gathering mandate from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, two Opening Convocation ceremonies—one at 9:30 a.m. and the second at 10:45 a.m.—will be held on Friday, Aug. 14. Only students and speakers—including Westminster President Dr. Kathy Brittain Richardson, Campus Chaplain the Rev. James Mohr, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Dr. Jamie McMinn, Associate Professor of Mathematics Education Dr. Sararose Lynch and Student Government Association President Kaylee Brosius ’21—will attend Opening Convocation.

Parents and the community may view a live stream of the ceremony at 9:30 a.m. at It can also be viewed on-demand at a later time.

“Despite the unusual circumstances this year, the purpose of the convocation remains the same for us at Westminster,” said President Richardson. “Through this event, we welcome the Class of 2024 into the community of Titans and charge them to pursue their goals with commitment, excellence and integrity. For us, this convocation is a true beginning of the academic year.”

Returning students will arrive between Aug. 14-16 and fall semester classes will begin Monday, Aug. 17, and conclude with finals just before Thanksgiving. Classes will end Friday, Nov. 20, and finals will take place Saturday, Nov. 21 through Wednesday, Nov. 25. No fall break midterm will be observed this academic year.

Above: Student orientation leaders and athletes arrived on campus earlier this week prior to new student move-in day. Here senior neuroscience major and cross country runner Breanna Ferguson—pictured with her mother Kari Proper Ferguson ’91—snaps a picture in her dorm room before saying farewell to her parents. Bottom photo: Students will be given a Titan Care Kit when they arrive on campus.