As she walked into her first-ever college dorm Wednesday, Allison Marshek said she was thrilled to begin the new year. 

“The campus has felt like a new home ever since I first came here,” Marshek said outside Noehren Hall. The Lone Tree, Iowa native said she was drawn to UNI by its location and atmosphere and is eager to get involved in campus activities. 

More than 3,000 students returned to campus housing this week, ready to start the fall semester. Some were greeted by new provost Jose Herrera or by vice president for student affairs David Grady. On Thursday, brand-new Panthers could be seen pushing in carts of belongings with their parents across campus. Some carried in a pet fish or even pool noodles to make bunk beds more comfortable. 

“It feels great to have students back on campus; to see the excitement about coming to UNI for the first time from our new students and families, and our returning students reuniting with friends. Students bring a special energy with them, invigorating campus each fall,” Nicholas Rafanello, Housing & Dining executive director. 

First-year student Josie Young said she was excited to start UNI’s speech pathology program. “My goal is to complete a master’s degree by the end of my time here. I want to be a speech pathologist, hopefully in a clinical setting,” the Ottumwa, Iowa native said.

Walking out of Noehren Hall, first-year Noah Burns said UNI was the perfect fit after attending a college of music in Boston. “UNI seemed like the right school for me” he said while heading to his car to grab more boxes.

Move-in is the first part of UNI Now. University events happening this week and next include the Panther Kick-Off, the Panther Picnic, the Student Organizations Fair, the UNI Nature Walk, the Center for Multicultural Education BBQ, and more as an effort to welcome students back.

The Center for Disease Control and the Black Hawk County Health Department recommend that fully vaccinated individuals wear a mask indoors in public as the county is currently in an area of substantial or high transmission.

The Student Health Clinic will be providing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this Friday, Aug. 20 from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. for Panther students, faculty and staff who have yet to receive a vaccine. They are accepting walk-ins or one can call to schedule an appointment at 319-273-2100.

Starting next week, the SHC will hold Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations clinics every Thursday from 1 p.m.-3p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Call to schedule an appointment at 319-273-2100. Face masks are required at the SHC.