Transfer Hall coming to App State fall 2021, replaces sorority dorm

A+restored+hotel%2C+App+States+Panhellenic+Hall+will+live+a+third+life+with+transfer+students+this+fall.+The+Transfer+Hall+can+house+248+residents.

Courtesy of University Housing

A restored hotel, App State’s Panhellenic Hall will live a third life with transfer students this fall. The Transfer Hall can house 248 residents.

Emily Broyles, Editor-in-Chief

A recognizable residence hall is getting a rebrand. App State’s Panhellenic Hall will be known as the Transfer Hall come this fall.

The new Transfer Hall will take over the App State logo-emblazoned building located at 949 Blowing Rock Road, which currently houses predominantly sorority members. The former hotel can house 248 residents, more than triple the capacity of the two-floor Transfer Residential Learning Community located in Belk Hall. 

“You’ve got to have the willingness from the housing community to provide you with this type of facility,” said Kim Morton, director of Transfer Recruitment and Retention. “I think it just kind of all fell into place.”

University Housing contacted Transfer Services in October to pitch the hall’s rebranding. 

“We are excited by the change and look forward to continue working closely with Transfer Services and transfer students,” said Alicia Vest, associate director for Student and Administrative Services in University Housing.

The hall is planned to house 20% of returning and 80% new transfer students. The 20% goal of continuing students was not met due to COVID-19, but Morton says new transfer students applying for on-campus housing Feb. 15 will be automatically placed in the building. 

Morton said the transfer RLC has a history of receiving double the number of applications than the building can house. She said that Transfer Services has advocated for transfer students “for quite a while,” including attempts of creating a transfer center in Plemmons Student Union in years past.

“(University administrators) feel that freshmen need that engagement, that support to be successful students,” Morton said. “Well, I would argue that transfer students need the same.” 

One out of every four undergraduate students at the university transferred from another institution, according to App State. In 2020, 78% of new main campus transfers lived off campus or experienced virtual learning at home due to COVID-19. These students range in ages 18-72, with an average transfer age being 22. 

Junior marketing major Alejandro Torres, a transfer student, considers his friend group diverse in age in the RLC. After living in the transfers-only space, he now serves as a resident assistant in the RLC.

“Having this community has been really helpful. I have a lot of friends I made last year through the transfer RLC who I’m still friends with today and that I still hang out with pretty regularly,” Torres said. 

Torres said while App State “felt like the right school” for him with an easy drive to his hometown of Charlotte and great views, there’s a downside to coming to college as a transfer student. He said transfers who live in apartments and the RLC alike can feel discouraged.

“It can be like a weird, lonely experience when you transfer in,” Torres said. “You’re a sophomore, you’re a junior, and you don’t have that much of a friend group yet. Usually a lot of the big friend groups kind of start up freshman year in your general ed classes.” 

He said forming a community with his floor has been hard due to COVID-19, but he’s seen friend groups form between the two transfer floors in Belk. Just as Torres hopes to see more of this in the Transfer Hall, he hopes a transfer center like the hall will promote students getting more involved and informed. 

Morton said this is why the Transfer Hall space will be accessible to all transfers, even if the student does not live there. As for students that do, Morton says it’s a “best-of-both-worlds” opportunity with being on the edge of campus with university resources.

“We want some continuing students mixed in with all the students in the hall to be able to provide experience and kind of a mentoring way to our new students,” Morton said. “Explaining (to) them the best way to do the AppalCart, or the best place to go get food and things like that in town.”

Julia Garrison transferred to App State spring 2020. The junior elementary education major said the Transfer Hall “sounds like a cool opportunity,” but she feels bad campus sororities will no longer have a meeting space to that caliber.

Remy Duplantis is a member of Kappa Delta who lived in the APH before moving back home this semester due to fears of COVID-19. She wrote in a statement that she feels closer to girls who lived in the sorority residence hall and loves them “to death.” 

“I will definitely miss how easy it was to see all my closest friends any day I want,” said Remy, a sophomore mathematics major. “They are literally just a few steps away.” 

Sorority members used the building’s ballrooms and meeting rooms for events like weekly chapter meetings and bid-day ceremonies.

Duplantis says she thinks these gatherings shouldn’t look too different outside the APH. She also thinks the space being handed over to other students will give the transfers the opportunity to bond but doesn’t think it will be the same as her experience living with people she already knew.

“We’re just really excited and we’ve heard a lot of good feedback from the students we’ve been able to talk to about this opportunity,” Morton said. “Our hope is five years down the road it’s going to be competitive and we’re going to have students begging to live in this hall because of the experience that the previous years have had.”