September 10, 2007

Transfer Students Get Settled in Hasbrouck

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With the demolition of the Class of ’17 dormitory, home of the fondly remembered Transfer Center, Cornell’s newest transfer students have set up camp in Hasbrouck Apartments. Traditionally a graduate student living area with its family friendly playgrounds and picnic tables, approximately 200 undergraduate transfer students are now housed in the apartment style dorms on the far east end of North Campus.
“I feel like we have the best of both worlds,” said transfer student Joyce Ke ’10, “We have our own place, but we still have a meal plan and that community dorm experience.”
The feelings are not all positive though. According to Ke, one of the main problems with the Hasbrouck set up is that the transfer students are not all grouped together, but rather clusters of them are spread out amongst the apartments of predominantly graduate students.
“We are so separated from each other, it’s much harder to meet people. I’m still meeting people I’ve never seen before because they live on the other side. That wouldn’t happen in a dorm,” said Ke.
Ilya Brotzky ’10 complained that the location of Hasbrouck is extremely inconvenient. It’s far from classes, Collegetown, and Teagle Hall where he swims. Brotzky also said he worries about disturbing the many families of the graduate students who live there.[img_assist|nid=24293|title=Moving on|desc=The Hasbrouck apartment complex on North Campus has become home to many Cornell transfer students since the demolition of the Transfer Center over the summer.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“It’s not the worst thing ever, but if I had a choice, I’d move,” Brotzky said.
The Hasbrouck arrangement, however, is only meant to be a temporary situation. Prior to this year, approximately 190 students a year were housed in the Transfer Center, a traditional dorm consisting mostly of doubles. Jessica Zulawski ’09, who transferred to Cornell in the fall of 2006, said she enjoyed her time in the Transfer Center last year because she was around people who were all in the same situation.
“People in the Transfer Center were always open and wanting to make friends,” Zulawski said. “Everyone was starting over together.”
Once the construction for the West Campus Initiative is complete, there will no longer be a central transfer housing location, as the students will be spread out amongst the soon to be five residential houses. Zulawski, who currently lives in Hans Bethe House on West Campus, is not a fan of the house system and believes it will hinder transfer students trying to transition into life at Cornell.
“It’s harder to get to know people in Bethe because people who live there are already living with their established friend groups,” Zulawski said.
John Matthews ’10 is a new transfer being housed in Hans Bethe House this year. Matthews said it is difficult for him to see his friends who are transfers because he has to go all the way to Hasbrouck to see them. However, he said, it is nice to have juniors and seniors close by who know the campus well because they can answer a lot of the questions he has as a new student
“Living away from the other transfers hasn’t affected me that much because I’m pretty sociable, and it’s easy for me to meet people,” Matthews said. “I like where I am, but it would definitely be nice to have a few more of my friends close by.”
Director of Residential Programs Joe Burke, defended the decision to discontinue the Transfer Center and integrate transfer students into the house system. According to Burke, many transfers have been housed in dorms other than the Transfer Center in the past.
“There is a misconception that in the past all transfer students living on campus were housed in Class of ’17,” Burke said. “It’s important to note that the goal is to help them become a part of the Cornell community and a piece of that is helping them become a member of a house.”
Ke thinks it will be nice when the transfers are back on West because the location of the houses would be much more convenient.
“As long as they put enough transfers together that would be fine,” Ke said, “as long as your not just one transfer alone.”