Transfer students need love too

CHRISTIAN HARTSELLE | | Opinion Columnist

Butler University integrates transfer students into the Bulldog equation pretty well—in the long term.

But the short term is another story.

The way these students have to start out almost guarantees a difficult adjustment to Butler culture.

Senior Grace Drascic transferred to Butler in the spring semester her sophomore year, and said it made it harder to build connections with other students.

Grace Drascic (right), Margaret Griffiths, and Amy Green

Grace Drascic (right), Margaret Griffiths, and Amy Green

“In January, everyone already has their friend groups,” Drascic said.

Presumably to counteract the challenge of creating friendships at a new college, she was invited to a basketball game with the handful of other students who had transferred to Butler.

But it is hard to imagine this organized event being useful when transfer students are only meeting other students who are also new to the Butler community.

In order to become socially engaged at Butler, Greek Life is a great option for transfer students to integrate themselves into a smaller part of Butler’s community.

Upon being asked why she transferred to Butler, Drascic found it difficult to respond.

She transferred from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. Taylor was “in the middle of a cornfield,” and while there was definitely a Taylor community, Butler offered her more opportunities to join different facets of the community.

At Butler, it was possible to find a niche and different leadership positions. Coming from a very conservative, Christian university and studying political science, she wanted to get a different perspective.

Drascic said pledging Pi Beta Phi sorority helped her integrate into Butler through Greek Life. She is now president of her sorority.

Junior Grady Brock began his college career at the University of Indianapolis. He always wanted to attend Butler, so he transferred in the fall semester of sophomore year.

Grady Brock with Trip

Grady Brock with Trip

He got involved in small clubs and Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, where he is also now president.

Brock had a different experience with transferring because he came at the beginning of the school year, instead of the spring semester like Drascic.

“I felt welcomed,” Brock said. “But during the orientation programs, I had already been through that experience.”

He said it felt like he was going through the same thing he had freshman year at University of Indianapolis.

Brock also had to live in Ross his first semester as a transfer student, which he said hindered his integration into Butler, and especially into his graduating class.

Brock offered what I consider to be phenomenal advice for incoming transfer students.

“Keep your head up, things always get better,” Brock said. “Get your name out there and people will love to get to know you.”

With Drascic and Brock as evidence, it is obvious there is more to making transfer students feel like normal students other than giving them events to attend once the semester commences. Their integration experiences need to be a vital part of student life.

With the support of the Greek community, both of them felt at home at Butler in the end. Because Greek students involve the values of their chapters in their entire student life, it is clear why it helped these two transfer students to such an extent.