Several UW–Stout Transfer Students Remain on Campus During COVID-19 Outbreak

Elizabeth Vierkant

Since classes have moved online for the Spring 2020 semester at the University of Wisconsin–Stout, many students have moved off campus. Though some, including a few transfer students, remain in their dorms. 

According to Chancellor Katherine P. Frank, UW–Stout worked with students that needed to continue living on campus for a variety of reasons. As said by Kathleen Baker, the Director of University Housing, these students must follow CDC guidelines and do not have roommates living with them.

Two English as a Second Language (ESLI) students, Kana Saito, a student from Japan, and Xochitl OritzBarron, a student from Mexico, are some of the students that remained on campus. Saito and OritzBarron are currently living in Red Cedar Hall. According to them, a mix of international and American students have stayed in the dorms, but it is very quiet.

They said that most international students have gone back to their country or are currently living with families in America. Saito used to eat meals with friends before everyone left campus, but now she can’t. According to her, this change has been strange.

OritzBarron had two roommates that are now gone, so she is now living alone. According to her, this change has been difficult. “I always saw people in the street, being in the lounge. It’s quiet and very weird,” she said.

ESL students have class from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day. As stated by OritzBarron, since these classes are not face-to-face, learning has been more difficult. Similar to how many students are likely feeling, she misses talking and doing homework with her friends and the experiences that come with face-to-face classes.

According to Saito, she misses using the kitchen in her dorm. “Our meals are hamburgers, pizza, sandwiches. There are maybe four or five types of meals,” she said.

At the beginning of Spring Break, OritzBarron remembers spending time and joking with other students that were staying in their dorms over break. The very next day, she saw a lot of people packing up their belongings and leaving very quickly.

Both OritzBarron and Saito think it is amazing how quickly everything has changed. “[I thought], ‘what happened here? I lost all my friends,” OritzBarron said. “In that moment, you can choose to return to your country or just stay in your room, but a lot of international students returned to their countries. In just one week, everything changed.”

The housing office is closed for walk-in traffic. Students and families who need to contact housing should email housing@uwstout.edu.