As Binghamton University’s first full week of online classes comes to a close, the students who chose to stay in the dormitories are facing another transition.
On Monday afternoon, BU’s Residential Life announced in an email that on-campus students will be consolidated into one living community. Students living in lower-campus communities, including Newing College, College-in-the-Woods, Mountainview College and Hinman College, will be moved into rooms in Dickinson Community starting this week.
Students in the apartment-style dorms in Susquehanna and Hillside communities will remain in their apartments.
The decision comes in the wake of a series of announcements pertaining to the University’s ongoing plans during the coronavirus pandemic. On March 11, BU President Harvey Stenger laid out the University’s plan to continue the semester through distance learning while leaving campus open to students who wished to stay, and days later, he announced that the University will credit and partially refund students who choose to leave their on-campus housing.
As of March 18, roughly 140 students indicated they intended to remain on campus, according to Residential Life. Residential Life did not respond to a request for the current number of students remaining on campus.
To ensure safety guidelines and protocols are followed on campus, all remaining residents will be assigned to single rooms with access to a private bathroom, according to Residential Life’s message. Since students will be assigned as an individual, they will not be accommodated with specific room style or flatmate requests.
Batur Shairzadeh, a freshman majoring in biology, plans to stay on campus and said he believes the accommodations will be beneficial for those who find that it is better for them to remain in Binghamton.
“Back in [New York City], I reside in a one-bedroom apartment with a family of five which can make it very difficult to complete my schoolwork,” Shairzadeh wrote in an email. “In addition, my cautiousness about the whole COVID-19 matter made me very reluctant about going home and potentially putting my family at risk as well as myself since I am immunocompromised with [Type 1] diabetes.”
He added that the response will especially help lower-income students who may not be financially capable of returning home.
“[BU] has done a wonderful job to protect students from low-income backgrounds which has been very reassuring to me, my friends and the international students who would be burdened by having to go back home,” Shairzadeh wrote. “Although, I do hope the University has a way to provide their students with additional meal plan allowances since families like mine have had no source of income for the past week to refill the balance on my meal plan.”
Imina Emokpae, a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience, has also chosen to stay on campus for the remainder of her time at BU. She said relocating students to Dickinson Community will help everyone remaining on campus practice social distancing.
“It’s my senior year, so I wanted to experience my last full semester of college, and a good amount of my friends were staying so I decided to stay,” Emokpae said. “It makes sense because I’ve lived in Dickinson [Community] all of my years in college and it’s isolating if you want it to be. You can be very antisocial so it’s perfect for the situation that’s going on.”