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    EMU students begin moving into dorms with rise in first-year enrollees


    Ypsilanti — Families and students came Thursday packed in their cars with cases of water, pillows, comforters and school supplies ready to take on the semester ahead at Eastern Michigan University. 

    “I am looking forward to getting independence from my family,” said Caroline Merrel, 18 of Dexter.

    Eastern Michigan University is welcoming more than 2,250 new first-year students to campus this fall, a 20% increase from fall 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic when 1,867 new students enrolled. It is also a 7% hike from first-year enrollment of 2,106 in 2019 before the pandemic, according to the university.

    The influx is also boosting the number of students living on campus. More than 2,750 students have made a deposit for housing this fall, up 35% from 2,031 students who lived in student housing last fall.

    On Tuesday, EMU officials said they would require all students who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 but want to attend classes on campus to undergo weekly testing.

    Jaxon McDaniel, Flint, keeps guard over his brother Oliver's stuff as he waits for him to return for another load of stuff to haul up to his Hoyt Hall dorm room where Oliver will live his freshman year at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. Thursday, August 26, 2021 was move in day for several students at EMU.

    “Our enrollment and housing numbers reflect the great attention paid by our faculty and staff to providing quality degree programs, experiential learning, and support services that lead our graduates to successful careers,” Eastern Michigan University President James Smith said in a statement. 

    First-year students are moving into on-campus housing beginning Thursday through Friday. Other student residents are set to begin moving in Friday through Sunday. The staggered move-in is a COVID-19 safety precaution. 

    Erin Gardner, right, Albion, takes a picture of her daughter Nejyah Gardner, left, an incoming Eastern Michigan University freshman from Albion, gets a hand moving into her Pittman Hall dorm from her mom and dad (Thomas and Erin) during her move in day, Thursday, August 26, 2021, in Ypsilanti.

    As a result of the enrollment increase, 65% of classes are being held in person, while 35% of classes are being held virtually.

    Students like Aniyah Ranold, 17 of Detroit like the flexibility of choosing what classes to take in person or virtually. 

    “Considering one of my classes is virtual, I am expecting a normal and exciting school year,” Ranold said. “I was glad to choose what classes I could take online and in person.”

    ngray1@detroitnews.com

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