A ritual familiar to generations of Rattlers returned this week. Hundreds of students converged on the Florida A&M University campus with their suitcases, blankets and accessories in tow ahead of the start of fall 2021 semester classes on Monday, August 23.
As of Friday morning, more than 1,328 of the 2450 students expected to live in residence halls had checked in, said Office of University Housing Director Jennifer Wilder, Ed.D. Housing facilities will be at about 97 percent of capacity this fall,
This is the first time since the pandemic that residence halls will be at full capacity. In 2020, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the University limited all double units to one person. This year, however, the 700-bed FAMU Towers and bed 800-bed Polkinghorne Village and other residential housing will each house a full complement of students.
Students returning to a campus were greeted by new banners emblazoned in the FAMU orange and green and featuring the bronze rattler.
President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., who traditionally greets students as they move into housing, said he has been encouraged by the feedback from students and parents this week.
“Students are really excited to be back on campus,” Robinson said. “I can sense their determination to make 2021 a productive year. We are counting on our students, faculty and staff working to make that possible as has been done so many times in the past.”
The threat of Tropical Storm Fred disrupted the move-in schedule on Monday, when 100 students checked in, Wilder said. Things picked up on Tuesday as students lugged their suitcases and laptops into the FAMU Towers North and South and Polkinghorne Village, the two newest housing facilities. Freshmen and students in the Living Learning Communities are being housed in the FAMU Towers. Polkinghorne will be home to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
Wilder said that for the most part parents and students have been receptive about rules regarding wearing their masks. But it’s going to take vigilance and discipline to make strides against the pandemic. Students are expected to wear face masks indoors and get vaccinated. Student Health Services staff members are in place to offer the vaccine to students as they move.
“We are happy to see the students back, but we are concerned if they don’t do their part, we won’t be able to stay for the whole school year,” Wilder said. “We need our students to get vaccinated and to wear their masks. We know they want to socialize. They have missed that social contact for over 18 months. If they don’t get vaccinated or wear their masks, they won’t be able to do the very things they want to do. Protect the FAMUly. That’s what we are asking them to do. We are all looking forward to football games and Homecoming. If they don’t protect the FAMUly, we are going to miss out on all of that.”