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Transfers find housing at SMC

Angela Saoud | Saturday, August 21, 2004

As if transferring to Notre Dame wasn’t complicated enough, it just got a little stranger for 17 women, who found off-campus housing not at Turtle Creek or College Park, but at Saint Mary’s.Though many of the 124 transfer students were able to secure on-campus housing, the crunch forced some to seek lodging elsewhere. To help alleviate the situation, rooms in Regina North Hall were offered as an alternative.”All the transfer students, most of them being juniors, will be living on the fifth floor of Regina North together,” Michelle Russell, director of Residence Life at Saint Mary’s said. “There will only be Notre Dame students on this floor.”Students won’t get the chance to get too comfortable, however, because the situation is only temporary. As space becomes available at Notre Dame, they will be able to move to their own campus. Russell said she does not believe students living at one school while attending another will become a trend between the campuses.”We had an opportunity to help out a difficult situation for Notre Dame students for a semester, and we did,” Russell said. “It is not something I would anticipate becoming a regular occurrence. This has happened very recently, and we are still working on some of the details.”Despite the physical separation from their peers and the University, the women will have plenty of opportunities to get comfortable thanks to the orientation program designed by the Admissions Office.Transfer orientation co-commissioner Kevin Keller is helping to acclimate students to Notre Dame through a variety of activities. But the weekend dubbed “An Irish Beginning” will not be the end of the road for the students and the counselors who greeted them.”This year, we’re starting a big brothers [and] big sisters program where any transfer student who wants to buddy up with an orientation counselor can,” Keller said. “Often times, transfer students don’t get to live on campus and that can leave them alienated from the experiences here. This program will hopefully help them get them involved and keep them connected with campus so they can go to an SYR or another campus activity if they want.”Although his job is to help make the students’ transition to Notre Dame as smooth as possible, for Keller, it is something bigger that brings him satisfaction.”I was in their shoes once before, and I want to be able to provide them with the help that I wish I’d had,” he said. “These students are in a special category all their own, and being able to help them transition from their old school to ours and show them the true Notre Dame experience is a rare opportunity.”