Transfer students do not enroll at GW for the Mount Vernon Campus experience. They come here to take advantage of city life in Foggy Bottom.
Yet this past year, the University placed transfer students on the Vern in an effort to establish a community for the group. But an administrator determined that transfers would live in Lafayette Hall on the Foggy Bottom Campus.
Shifting transfer student housing to Foggy Bottom is a laudable change, especially after transfer students left their Mount Vernon Campus assignments en masse after the fall semester. That said, putting the overwhelming majority of transfer students in the same building gives rise to a new set of concerns and potential setbacks that the University should acknowledge.
While transfer students may have a lot in common, they do not all share the same needs when it comes to housing. Some of these students will undoubtedly benefit from immediate access to other transfer students, but some students may not need a housing community to ease their transition into Foggy Bottom. And some might actually prefer to live in a place outside of the transfer student bubble.
As administrators experiment with the transfer community in Lafayette Hall, they should actively seek feedback from students regarding whether or not they feel that living in one cluster is worthwhile.
There might not be a one-size-fits-all solution to transfer student housing. Some students may feel isolated if they are placed in a residence hall entirely composed of transfer students, while others might find it makes for an immediate group of friends.
But that is why the University should constantly take the pulse of this important percentage of the student population that is sometimes overlooked. And if this endeavor fails or is met with poor response, the University should be willing to make the necessary changes to help the transfer community thrive.