Welcome Back: ASU students return to campus

Peyton Fleming, Larnardo Talley, Ricky Thornton and Kiasa Trabue

Peyton Fleming, Larnardo Talley, Ricky Thornton and Kiasa Trabue

Staff Report

Alabama State University’s campus is again buzzing with students as Hornets began to move in for the fall semester on Saturday, August 8.

New and returning students received enthusiastic welcomes, but the crowds associated with the traditional “Hornet Haul” were absent due to COVID-19.

The rite of passage was a well-organized, but low-key affair, as boxes were unloaded, luggage was wheeled and beds were hauled. Only about 13 to 14 students were allowed in each residential hall at a time. Students were given staggered time slots to unload their belongings into their residence halls.

The move-in is a glimpse of the new normal of college life, where large lectures and big events are replaced by mandatory masks, social distancing and more online learning.

The University shifted to remote teaching and learning in March. Students finished the spring semester off-campus, but ASU maintained critical operations throughout this period.

Returning and first-time students were happy to be on campus, even if it was a bit subdued compared to the normal, hectic move-in process.

“It feels great to be back on campus. I’ve been waiting to come back since we left. I’m ready to get back into that ASU experience,’’ exclaimed Georgia native Kiasa Trabue, a sophomore majoring in communications (radio and TV).

Ricky Thornton, a junior majoring in finance, said the drive from Indianapolis, Indiana, wasn’t that tiring because he was headed to his second home, ASU.

“I was really looking forward to coming back. I am starting a new adventure,” said Thornton, who is a member of the Hornets championship track and cross country teams. “I know it will be different from now on, but I’m glad to be on campus,” said Thornton, who will take mostly online classes.

Anniston, Ala. native Larnardo Talley, a junior majoring in biology, said he is the first in his family to attend ASU.

“I chose Alabama State University because I wanted a college that felt like a home away from home; ASU filled that bill. I’m glad to be home,” said Talley, who will take one hybrid class and the rest of his classes online.

Talley, Trabue and Thornton are all Resident Assistants who moved in prior to the regular move-in dates.

Montgomery native Peyton Fleming, a freshman majoring in rehabilitation services, is not living on campus, but says can’t wait to get to ASU because of the University’s “amazing” programs. A recipient of ASU’s Academic Excellence Scholarship, she plans to take all hybrid classes.

“I know that ASU’s physical therapy and occupational therapy programs are nationally ranked. ASU has my major and the environment that I want to experience, and the University has the dance aspect of it. I dance and sing. The University offers the whole package, so I’m ready to get in there,” Fleming said.

From academics to residence halls and food service, the entire college has been working hard to prepare for students’ arrival. Because of COVID-19, students can expect strict safety protocols including no visitors in residential halls, temperature checks, mandatory social distancing and face masks, and reminders about washing their hands. COVID -19 testing is also mandatory for all students attending fall semester.

“Safety is just as much the students’ responsibility as the University’s,” said Rakesha Hines, director of Student Housing and Residential Life. “We are doing everything as an institution to make sure our students are safe. If everyone follows safety guidelines, we will have a great academic year.”

Hines noted that when students go off-campus they should keep to protocol of wearing their masks, social distancing and washing their hands.