Sustaining healthy staying communities in university residential halls amid unprecedented pandemic

Michelle W.T. Cheng, Man Lai Leung, Christina W.M. Yu, Kevin K.M. Yue, Elaine S.C. Liu, Samuel K.W. Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most teaching and learning or student services in the higher education setting have moved to the digital world. However, university residential halls have continued to provide services as there are students who are unable to go back to their homes/countries because of travel bans or family reasons. This study investigates the perceptions of residents who stayed at university residential halls during the pandemic. In-depth interviews were conducted with 77 staying residents from four public universities in Hong Kong. Through the sharing of their residential experience, it was found that these stayers were impacted greatly by the changes in the residential hall environment, particularly in terms of reduced interaction and emerging disciplinary concerns. Results reveal that stayers had undergone different negative mental states, namely stress, paranoia, loneliness and boredom. After identifying their conditions, some sustainable residential practices were proposed, such as maintaining minimum face-to-face contact for stayers, practicing transparent communication and arranging bulk purchases of living supplies. It is hoped that the results of this study can help to inform readers regarding the possible impacts on the stayers during a partial lockdown environment in university residential halls and how they can be better supported by universities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6176
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Emotional needs
  • Sustainable practices
  • University residential community


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