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Students Return to St. Louis Campus

by Joe Barker on 08/19/2021

Students are back on the Saint Louis University campus.

SLU President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., left, greets a new student during Move-In Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Photo by Joe Barker.

SLU President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., left, greets a new student during Move-In Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Photo by Joe Barker.

Thursday morning packed cars made their way to campus to unload SLU’s newest students, their families and the necessities needed for life in a residence hall. Move-In day officially kicked off Fall Welcome for the 2021-2022 academic year as the University prepares to start class Wednesday, Aug. 25.

This year’s fall freshman class is anticipated to be the second-largest in University history — trailing only 2019’s record class. Approximately 1,800 students are expected to enroll. The University’s total enrollment combining undergraduate, graduate and online students is expected to be the highest in six years. 

The University expects approximately 3,900 students will live on campus this fall — that’s 98% of the University’s housing capacity. Those on-campus students began moving in Thursday. Move-In will continue through the weekend.

As usual, the incoming students and their families were greeted by members of Oriflamme. Clad in their trademark orange shirts the upperclassmen assisted moving in the students.

“I’ve been doing Oriflamme for the last three years and this is probably my favorite thing I do here at SLU so today has just been really special,” said Lizzie Kelley, an Oriflamme member and senior biology student.

This year took on a different feeling following last year’s COVID-19-impacted move-in experience. Students were allowed to go mask-less outside and returned to a more traditional move-in thanks to the University’s vaccine requirement. 

In June, the University announced it would require all students, staff and faculty on the St. Louis campus to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. By the start of classes next week, 96% of SLU students will have submitted proof of COVID vaccinations. Another 1% are partially vaccinated and will complete their vaccinations within two weeks. The remaining 3% will have received a medical or religious exemption from vaccination.  

Kelley said the difference between last year and this year was noticed.

“It’s just really nice to be back in the community with everybody,” she said. “Just to be able to see people’s faces again, it sounds like something so small, but it’s made a huge difference to be able to smile at a new student, to be able to greet the family with a little less fear of adding to the contagious virus and spreading it. It’s just been such a joy to see everyone together and working toward getting back to the SLU we know and love and missed so much.”

Once settled into their new homes, students will be able to take part in a variety of Fall Welcome activities planned to introduce students to life at SLU. One of those events, Convocation, will take place at Chaifetz Arena at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 21, and will livestream on and on SLU's official Facebook page.