Seniors’ belongings to be shipped home by mid-June, other students’ to follow

by Soleil Gaylord | 5/14/20 2:05am

by Naina Bhalla / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

In an email to campus on Wednesday morning, Dean of the College Kathryn Lively announced that seniors’ belongings left on campus will be packed and shipped to them by mid-June and that all other items will be returned to students no later than August 15. The College will pay for packing and shipping.

Lively’s email noted that the College will begin packing items next week and begin shipping by the end of May. Large items, including appliances like fridges and furniture, will not be shipped, but they will be stored for up to a year until it is possible for students to return to pick them up. Other items, including flammable and hazardous materials, electronics, bicycles, plants and artwork, will also not be eligible for shipping.

Three options will be offered to all students: having belongings placed in controlled storage, returning for a “structured pick-up” in July or having items packed and shipped to students at the College’s expense, Lively wrote. Storage expenses will also be covered by the College. A survey will be sent to students this Friday asking them to indicate their preferences.

Lively added in her email that either the students themselves or a designated person will be allowed to pick up items in a “controlled, timed pick-up procedure,” if permitted by public health guidelines. Otherwise, she noted, items will be placed in storage by mid-August in preparation for fall term occupation. 

During Provost Joseph Helble’s weekly “Community Conversations” livestream on Wednesday, Lively said that the logistics of July’s pick up procedure have not been worked out in entirety, but that students will not be able to pack their own rooms. 

“Students will not be able to pack their own things, even students who come back in July will actually be picking up boxes from a central location,” Lively said. 

Lively said that the College will work with international students on an individual basis to resolve customs issues, and students living in Greek housing will be allowed the same options as other students in residence halls. 

During the livestream, Helble said that the results of Friday’s student preference survey will be helpful in determining what protocol for returning items will look like in terms of how many students will be allowed back and at what times. 

“The sooner we have your preferences, the sooner we can act on those,” Helble said.

Lively also addressed the issue of student privacy, stating that items of disciplinary concern will be ignored. Lively said that any weapons found will be taken and stored by Safety and Security, in accordance with the College’s weapon policy. 

Packages at Hinman mail center will be stored or shipped by the end of spring term, and cars parked in A-Lot can be picked up when the return pick up process begins in July. 

During the livestream, vice president for institutional projects and COVID-19 task force co-chair Josh Keniston said, in response to a question asking whether some items may be stored and some shipped, that students will be offered a singular option, and not a combination. 

“We will provide students options, but we will not provide different permutations of options,” Keniston said. “Those who come will need to take their belongings, or they can select to have their items shipped.”

Keniston added that students will be able to indicate packing preferences throughwithin a form, but direct contact with the person packing their items would not be possible.

“It is unlikely that the students will have direct contact, but we will make sure there are some back-and-forth opportunities,” Keniston said. 

Helble said that students likely will not have to make a decision regarding their belongings until the College makes its announcement regarding fall term plans, which is expected to be announced by June 29.

“I suspect we will be able to accommodate waiting until fall term decisions are made,” he said. 

Other colleges and universities have released similar move-out plans, although timelines vary. At Northwestern University, some students have already received their things — they can return to campus during designated two-hour time slots between May 11 and June 12. Students who live far from campus can have their belongings packed and shipped. The University of Massachusetts Amherst, meanwhile, is also sending student items home through an independent moving service and allowing students to personally retrieve their items during time slots between May 18 to 22.