Santa Clara Welcomes Groups of First-Year Move-Ins For Spring Quarter
By Tracy Seipel
‘A good change of scenery’ for new Broncos
When Kate Cocales ’24, sister Claire ’22, and mom Dana Cocales pulled up in front of Graham Hall this weekend, the first-year Bronco practically bounded out of their rental car.
Who could blame her?
After a year of pandemic sheltering in place at home in Seattle, the opportunity to move onto campus—though her classes will remain online for the spring quarter that starts this week—was worth it.
“The teachers have done a very good job, honestly,” said the accounting major of her SCU remote courses over the fall and winter. “But it’s time to open a new chapter, and I wanted to meet new people. It’s a good change of scenery.”
Like the approximately 450 other first-year move-ins who arrived between March 24-28—hailing from North Carolina to Hawaii, and plenty of points in between—Cocales is living in a two-person room that, for COVID-19 safety reasons, she will have all to herself.
More instructions awaited the Washington native: After unpacking, students (who must wear face coverings and maintain six feet of social distancing) were required to head over to Benson Memorial Center for the first of two COVID-19 tests they will take over the next seven days of quarantine.
Outside Graham, Dave Machado welcomed and assisted several members of the 2021 class as they pushed and pulled huge canvas carts stuffed with their belongings.
But the director of SCU Housing, Building Operations and Conference Services said he is already planning and looking forward to September, when he’ll be involved in coordinating campus housing for many students starting at or returning to Santa Clara.
“If everything goes well until then,” Machado said, “these first-years will have a great sophomore move-in experience.”
For Ethan Evans ’24, relocating to Santa Clara for the spring quarter was the right decision.
“I think being here will help me get my bearings, and also help me get to know other students,” said the bioengineering major who drove up from Long Beach with his parents, Sarah and Jonathan.
Evans recently broke his right wrist snowboarding in Aspen, so his parents weren’t just providing emotional support; they helped him unpack and organize his second floor room in Graham.
While the wrist pain has mostly subsided, the inconvenience—as his father wisely noted—might even turn out to be a good “conversation-starter” with other students.
The son thinks his PlayStation console, an essential item he brought with him to SCU, will probably come in just as handy.
For fellow Graham Hall resident and gamer Max Keller ’24, the mention of a console in the building was excellent news.
Keller, who arrived from Thousand Oaks accompanied by his parents Hayley and Mark, brought his own “must-haves” from home, including his acoustic guitar and his “it’s so comfortable!” blue fleece robe.
Though pleased to be on campus, he acknowledged that spring quarter won’t be the same experience without all the other first-years.
“I’m fortunate to be here,” said the economics major who has managed his own E-Trade account since high school. “But I can understand how people would want to hold off this quarter because of finances.”
First-year Isabel Andaya, who had driven down Friday with her mother from their Sacramento home, understands that sentiment.
Last fall, the civil engineering major was supposed to be in a three-person room, but the ongoing pandemic halted those plans.
For spring quarter, she said, one of the trio moved to off-campus housing, while another, who lives in nearby San Ramon, decided to remain at home to save money.
“It’s tough for everyone,” said Andaya, “but hopefully more people will be here this fall.”