TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — 7,600 students will call the University of Arizona campus "home" in the Fall 2021 semester. All 23 dorm buildings will be at full capacity.
"I really like the sense of community that comes with living in the dorms," said UA Resident Assistant, Jessica Verdugo Lopez.
Lopez has lived in the dorms since arriving at the University of Arizona as a freshman. Now a senior, she is a resident assistant at Manzanita-Mohave dorm and helps students have the same great experience that she did.
"I really like taking on a big sister kind of role. I am the oldest sibling, so I feel like that comes to me naturally. I'm someone that will be there if they need a shoulder to lean on, if they're stressed out and just need to rant to someone," said Lopez.
Like last semester, the University of Arizona has protocols in place to keep prevent COVID-19 spread among student residents. Masks are highly recommended and will be required in spaces where social distancing isn't possible. University leaders are also encouraging regular testing, especially for students who aren't vaccinated.
"If a student tests positive who lives in the dorms, we'll move them over to our isolation dorms. It's a dorm that has been taken out of inventory and is just for isolation students who have tested positive," said UA Housing and Residential Life Director, Dana Robbins-Murray.
Robbins-Murray said they will keep up one isolation dorm building, this semester. This a change from the four dorm buildings that were available last semester.
"We are down to one. We are hoping with the vaccine that we will see less positives in the dorms," said Robbins-Murray.
According to the university, students who live on campus during their first year earn, on average, an 8% higher GPA. Lopez said that has to do with all the support students get inside their new home.
"I really like connecting with my residents. I still speak to some people that lived in my hall my freshman year, my sophomore year and even last year. They're just really nice people. I think it's a great way to form connections and find somewhere you belong on campus," said Lopez.
Classes at the University of Arizona begin on Monday, August 23.