Residence life announced the Burnhams and Henry halls will be closed for the upcoming year due to the COVID-19 pandemic June 12. The opening of Arcadia Flats was moved to January 2021.
This left many students to scramble and find other arrangements for the academic year. Students were given options that included moving to another residence hall, Western View Apartments, or Arcadia Flats when it opens in January. As well as Western View, which had a few rooms available.
Students who chose the Arcadia Flats option, will be offered discounted rates on temporary housing in Davis and Zimmerman Halls.
Junior Alex Lawrence was supposed to live in Arcadia Flats this year. Now he has to wait until at least January to move in, which only added to his frustration with WMU.
“Other schools are rolling out plans,” Lawrence said. “We still don’t know what our classes are gonna look like, we don’t know what dining is gonna look like, we don’t know what student life is gonna look like.”
Residence Life sent an email to affected students on June 5 telling them they would receive another email June 12 about the housing changes that would occur during the upcoming year. That’s when Lawrence started to worry.
“That (email) gave students anxiety,” Lawrence said. “Once I got that information I knew Arcadia Flats was not going to be done.”
Once he received the first email, Lawrence replied wanting to know if he needed to find other living arrangements, he was comforted when he was told he wouldn’t have to, but his feelings changed a week later.
“I was very upset,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence plans to live in an off campus apartment and is cancelling his contract for Arcadia Flats. He also disagrees with the closure of Burnhams and Henry Halls.
“I think that is a bad idea,” Lawrence said. “You’re literally pushing everyone else into Valleys, I understand the Valleys have the capacity but we’re going to be in a pandemic.”
He adds with many building closed, most students living on campus will have to live in the Valleys making social distancing difficult.
While he disagrees with the university's decision, above all he hopes that incoming students will feel welcome even without various events.
“Making sure that students who are coming are still getting the experience I did three years ago, even if its virtually, that’s the most important thing,” Lawrence said.