The University of New Mexico believes in the benefits students gain by living on campus and interacting with the campus community while pursuing a degree. As The University develops COVID-19 safety and health guidelines to protect Lobos this fall, UNM Residence Life & Student Housing (RLSH) staff are designing creative solutions to preserve the best of the residential collegiate experience while protecting student health. 

In a typical year, UNM requires first-time, first-year students to live on campus. However, the Freshman Residency Requirement for Academic Year 2020-2021 has been waived and freshmen will not be required to live on campus. Housing will be available for Fall 2020, and freshmen are welcome to choose UNM as their home, but that will not be the requirement for Fall 2020.

To make the recommended social distancing possible in the living environment, UNM RLSH will be assigning only one resident per room in traditional and suite style residence halls for the Fall semester. However, taking these measures to protect student health means that less housing will be available than usual.

“We truly believe in the positive impact of the campus living experience and it’s disappointing that fewer students will be able to have that experience this year but we must work to provide a safer environment for all our students,” said Wayne Sullivan, Director Residence Life & Student Housing.

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The process for housing assignments will be modified as a result of the limited space available. Priority for on-campus housing will first be given to first-year students, followed by students who completed the Priority Renewal Registration. Any student who doesn’t meet these criteria will be housed if space is available or placed on a waiting list. 

Lobos unable to secure a housing assignment are encouraged to visit the new UNM Off-Campus Housing website, where they can find a list of other housing options available in Albuquerque.  

Since the assignment process and timeline has been changed, UNM Residence Life & Student Housing is also extending the no-fee cancellation deadline. The new deadline to cancel is June 28, 2020. “We want to encourage our Lobos to make the best housing decisions for their individual needs,” said Sullivan.

Working with UNM Student Health and Counseling Center (SHAC), RLSH has set aside housing for students who test positive for COVID-19 and need to move to isolation so that they and other students remain safe.  

Having a meal plan helps to ensure that students have access to food at all times. First-year freshmen, residing on main campus must purchase a meal plan. For those freshmen with required meal plans, along with our other residents that chose to purchase a meal plan, UNM Food is taking every precautionary measure to insure safety and is complying with all health and state regulations. 

UNM Food will be updating the policies and procedures throughout the summer and fall semester and will communicate these changes in an immediate manner via the website.

Lobos who receive Student Housing assignments will receive a detailed list of what to expect when they come to campus – items to bring to campus housing, plans for moving in, events and activities, and important health measures that every Lobo will take together to help protect the Lobo pack. 

Living on campus this fall will involve shared responsibility to keep everyone safe and healthy. Residents can expect to wear a face mask and maintain social distance in public spaces, to wash hands regularly, and to maintain awareness of potential symptoms, while following other protocols. A complete description of responsibilities and expectations will be sent directly to residents.

The global health situation is fluid, so staff will be prepared for changes, whether they occur before housing opens in fall or while classes are underway. In the event of a change in the public health outlook during the fall, RLSH want to have plans in place for any impacts to campus housing so that students are aware in advance of what will happen. The spring semester was challenging and RLSH wants to put into place what was learned from that experience.

Of course, even if health conditions require that students physically leave campus, UNM classes will continue to the end of the semester so that students can complete their work and receive credit. UNM has announced a revised fall academic calendar, which includes remote instruction after Thanksgiving; RLSH will provide clear instructions to residents about how this will impact fall move-out. 

“We commit to communicating with students as information develops and plans change,” said Sullivan. “Our community will need to be understanding as the months ahead unfold because health conditions beyond our control may impact our plans. We want our students to have the best possible experience, and we will work towards that goal in all we do.”   

UNM Residence Life & Student Housing is excited to welcome students to campus in the Fall and to be a part of their Lobo experience.