The 250 transfer students who will arrive at GW this fall will call Foggy Bottom home, an administrator said last week, after a number of transfers to the University criticized their placement on the Mount Vernon Campus this year.
This fall’s transfer student community will live in Lafayette Hall, a move that will lead to an increase in freshman housing assignments to the Vern, Director of GW Housing Programs Seth Weinshel said.
The majority of transfers would be assigned to Lafayette, but the building cannot accommodate the entire transfer community, Weinshel said, adding that “not all transfers elect to live on campus."
Transfers who are not placed in Lafayette will be scattered across other residence halls.
About 150 transfer students were housed on the Vern last year, triggering complaints from multiple students who felt disconnected from Foggy Bottom’s social scene and room swapped to onto the urban campus.
Weinshel said he was unable to provide the number of transfer students who moved off the Vern this year because the office does not track that figure. He also said the decision to assign transfer students to Lafayette instead of residence halls on the Vern was unrelated to this semester's complaints from students who did not want to remain on GW’s second residential campus.
“The fact that transfers transferred off the Vern had nothing to do with it,” Weinshel said, “It was simply to try to create a transfer community that works knowing the size of the transfer population."
The reshuffling of class years for residence halls reflects a transitional year ahead for GW housing.
Lafayette, which reopened last fall after a year of renovations, housed about 130 freshmen this year.
Lafayette will again house freshmen in fall 2013, when construction starts to merge Crawford, Schenley and West End into one larger residence hall with about 800 beds, Weinshel said.
A timeline for the project has not yet been determined.
The University also anticipates a larger class of 2016, which would drive more freshmen to the Vern. As of May 18, 2,501 freshmen committed for the class of 2016, an increase of about 250 students from this year’s freshman class.
Freshmen are set to receive their assignments in July, and transfer students will be notified of housing afterward. The University expects some freshmen to drop off over the summer despite submitting deposits, which could open up more beds.
Dean of Students Peter Konwerski said he was not in a position to comment on how shifting the transfer student community from the Vern to Foggy Bottom would affect transfer student life.
“Every hall is unique and different, with a variety of amenities and features," he said. “We strive to ensure every student has a positive, supportive environment for them to study, live and learn as they live in our community."
Ahmad Mustafa, the former director of transfer students for the Student Association who graduated Sunday, spent the year lobbying the University to change its location for transfer students, claiming administrators do not grasp the diversity of the transfer population.
The incoming SA advocate for transfer students, Ari Massefski, said he is encouraged by the move to house transfers on the Foggy Bottom Campus and said it appears to be a University response to student feedback.
The Residence Hall Association also fielded complaints from transfer students living on the Vern.
RHA President Jacob Thayer said while the population will be better incorporated into campus life by living on Foggy Bottom, Lafayette does not provide the apartment-style living offered in other upperclassmen residence halls.
“There are no kitchens in Lafayette," Thayer said. "That is a negative but, it is an improvement from the Vern that was a big complaint last year. You can’t get everything."