Hello, MUSTANGS!! My name is Melinda Carlson and I have the pleasure of serving as assistant vice president of Student Affairs and Dean of Residence Life and Student Housing or RLSH. I am a proud member of Kathy Crow Commons and my pronouns are she her and hers.
First and foremost, the entire Residence Life & Student Housing staff and I are so excited to have you on campus. I wanted to take this time to reach out and provide some insight into the Fall 2020 semester as you finalize your plans to arrive on the Hilltop. We recognize that you may have questions about what you will experience this Fall. Our staff has put considerable thought and countless hours into how we can provide the best space for living and learning on campus. Navigating this ever-changing environment continues to be a challenge, but a challenge that we can all overcome together as a community. We can all plan best when we have information. In addition to the enhanced cleaning protocols and air filtration, UV lights installed in the air handler systems of all RC and Upper Division housing facilities, as well as efforts made to ensure social distancing (details about which can be found on the University website), there are two policies that I’d like to address with you today as they are critical to keeping the campus safe.
One of the first changes you will encounter is our requirement to wear a face covering over the mouth and nose in all public indoor spaces and in other spaces where social distancing is difficult. We know it might feel strange to wear a face covering while in your campus home. However, it is our collective responsibility to provide a safe and welcoming environment so all members of our community can continue to learn and work. But don’t worry, you can remove your mask while in your room to comfortably study or binge watch Netflix. The face covering requirement will be in effort for students and their guests during move-in.
Another community safety focused change is our updated guest policy. Visitors from other buildings and off-campus will not be allowed in your residential facility or your room. On the bright side, you can have friends from within your residential community safely visit your room, just as long as all roommates are in agreement. This is a great opportunity to have a conversation with your RA to help establish those boundaries and determine what is comfortable for everyone. Our goal is to create a community that promotes your safety and success!
We realize that this situation is constantly evolving, and that may create fear or even frustration. Just know that we are, and we will be, constantly adapting our processes, policies, and communication with you to provide you the best residential experience possible. I understand that things may look and feel different this semester, but I can assure you that the level of care, support, and investment from your student leaders, RCDs, FiRs, and RLSH staff remains the same. Our commitment to serving our on-campus community is, and always will be, our top priority. We look forward to working together as proud Mustangs to protect each other and support each other as we navigate the semester together!
As you prepare to come to campus, be certain to check your SMU email and follow your community on social media as we communicate additional updates on move-in, our policies and plans.
Remember: wear your face covering, practice social distancing and take care of each other! Pony UP and we’ll see you soon!