Returning students drive reopening of two residence halls

Volunter crews moving student items into Friley Hall

There was lots of hustle and bustle outside Friley Hall on Wednesday as first-year students moved in to campus housing. Nearly 250 orange-shirted student volunteers helped families with that big job. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

With the fall semester set to begin Monday, it's move-in week on campus. About 400 full-time and student staff for the department of residence, along with nearly 250 student volunteers, have been working to ensure the smoothest transition possible -- answering questions, preparing spaces, and helping educate and guide new students as they settle in. 

It's a bit of a bigger job than in recent years, as more than 9,600 students have signed up to live on campus as of Aug. 11 -- the most since 2019, said Meredith Ponder Hanisch, communications and marketing director for campus life. 

To meet that demand, two residence halls that were closed in recent years, Wallace and Linden, are reopened for student housing. Linden Hall served as COVID-19 isolation housing during the pandemic, while Wallace was closed last year to adjust to a fluctuating student population. 

As it has at times in the past, Wallace is reserved for single-occupancy contracts. While the Storms Dining Center at the Towers complex remains closed, ISU Dining is opening a new mini-mart this fall in Wallace, using it ISU vending contract with Pepsi. In Linden Hall, newly added communal kitchens are available for students to use, including stoves, microwaves and large sinks. 

The other Towers building, Wilson Hall, remains closed for a second year, but residence department leaders expect it to be needed for student housing again next year if trends continue, Ponder Hanisch said. Oak-Elm was set to close for 2020-21, a decision made shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic, but was used as quarantine housing two years ago before reopening for regular operations in 2021-22.

Here's a look at the recent trends in residence system occupancy, based on fall numbers:



Residence hall occupancy

Apartment occupancy

Total residents


96.8% (6,607)

85.3% (3,050)



96% (5,903)

89.1% (2,916)



85.2% (5,817)

75.8% (2,841)



94% (6,967)

93.6% (3,490)


*As of Aug. 11