Transfer students eager to make College their home

After living in a Towson University dorm filled with four mismatched girls on the sixth floor of a building with no elevator, transfer student Sonia Reso says Centennial Hall is just fine.

“Our beds are unbunked, the bathroom’s a room or two down from us and I’m only dealing with one person,” Reso, freshman sociology major, said.

Across the hall from Reso, sophomore communication studies major and transfer student Nicole Gallagher admits the Centennial rooms cannot compare to her comfortable dormitory at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

“It could be fixed up, but it’s still livable,” Gallagher said.

As construction delays complicate housing placement and some transfers are placed in Centennial Hall or wherever there is an open spot, students in their first weeks at the College are more concerned with who their friends will be than where they sleep.

Unlike incoming freshman, transfer students are surrounded by students who already know which classmates to watch “Napoleon Dynamite” with or eat grilled cheese sandwiches next to in Eickhoff Hall.

“They all have their niche,” Gallagher said. “They don’t really have the desire to go out and meet people.”

Nonetheless, both new transfer students are already making connections. In the first week, Gallagher attended a concert and watched “Bridget Jones’ Diary” with her floormates. Reso said Travers Four, where she has an acquaintance, has accepted her.

“Everybody I have come into contact with has been really nice and welcoming,” Gallagher said. “I can always get the answers I need.”

A Jan. 7 transfer orientation helped the transfers get acquainted with the College and other transfers. Gallagher and Reso said their community advisor was the first person to talk to them on move-in day.

“She’s trying to make Centennial a more sociable environment,” Reso said. “She keeps her door open as much as possible. So even if no one else is being sociable, we can talk to her.”

Ryan English, senior communication studies and women’s and gender studies major, remembers being a little nervous as a transfer four years ago as he moved into the transfer housing in the Country Club Apartments. However, he was soon at ease and eventually became the assistant residence director for the Country Club Apartments.

“I learned to ask questions and seek out the people, organizations and experiences I wanted to connect with,” he said.

The Residence Life staff looks at mileage to determine whether or not transfer students get housing. If the distance is too far for a student to commute, the staff tries to find accommodations, although housing is not guaranteed for transfer students.

“We don’t like turning people away,” Gretchen Reyes-Cseplo, assistant director for Administrative and Housing Operations, said. “We try to accommodate those who really need the housing, until the lawyers let us have the apartments. Right now we have to be status quo because we don’t have the 600 spaces we thought we were going to have.”

Freshman transfers are placed in the First Year Experience program, Reyes-Cseplo said, unless they come in with enough credits to be considered past the FYE level. Reso, who came in with 15 credits, has a meeting with the housing coordinator to see if there are openings in the freshman dormitories.

“I’m just fortunate to get housing, because being a transfer I’m not guaranteed it,” Reso said. “I’m finding it difficult to make friendships because I’m not in a freshman dorm, but if I were commuting it’d be that much harder.”

Reyes-Cseplo said she is excited to offer housing to a transfer student.

“There’s this misconception that transfer students are considered second class citizens,” Reyes-Cseplo said. “In ResLife we don’t feel that.”