Freshman students moving into Elon University are not the only people on campus experiencing changes coming into this semester. Physical Plant, sustainability, dining and building staff members are taking on new roles and responsibilities during move-in and to prepare for the semester ahead during the coronavirus pandemic.

Students arriving at their residence halls can stop by tents with physical plant staff ready to help with their move-in process. Paul Holt, a maintenance engineer for Physical Plant, said he has been showing people how to set up their beds during move-in this year. In the past, Holt said he enjoyed seeing other parents help one another, something that is not as easily done with social distancing. 

Kelly Harer spent her fourth year at Elon Move-In Day sanitizing mallets used by freshmen students lofting their beds. Harer’s specific role in Elon University’s two-day move-in process was sanitizing the mallets used by freshmen to loft their beds on their own without the help of Physical Plant, like in years past.

“Move-in is one of my favorite times of the year,” Harer said. “Obviously it's a little slower — we've spaced it out over two days — so we're able to really make sure that we're helping every person … and I’ve been very impressed with everyone wearing their masks and maintaining social distance.”

As assistant director of sustainability and educational outreach, one of the most important aspects of sustainability this year is managing that waste, according to Harer. New dining policies aimed at combating COVID-19 mean that students cannot use reusable to-go containers this year. Instead, compostable food and drink containers are being introduced. 

Video by Jack Norcross and Christian Galvano

According to Harer, this reduces contamination in compost bins — meaning that the compost stream is clean and easier to be processed at the composting facility.

“We’ve been looking for years to get compostable coffee cup lids because we’ve had compostable coffee cups and the lids have been landfill,” Harer said.

Barb Carlton, assistant director of Moseley Center, said that although her job has not changed much, Moseley has had to implement new social distancing and sanitary regulations due to the pandemic.

“We’re making sure that things are clean, that people are wearing masks,” Carlton said. “That’s going to be a difficult thing; we don’t want to have to tell them to put masks on. We want them to come in and put masks on.”

Another difficulty for Moseley Center this year is finding spaces for organizations to hold events. With gathering and social distancing restrictions, space is much more limited.

“There’s only a few spaces available for students, organizations to meet and to have events,” Carlton said. “It’s going to be a little more taxing to do that kind of stuff, but I would say everything else is about the same.”

Jack Norcross and Christian Galvano contributed to the reporting of this story