President Gittel With transfer student
Transfer student orientation helps students new to campus learn more about life at Bryant and make important connections with other students, faculty, and staff, including Bryant President Ross Gittell, Ph.D.
A new start that feels like home: Bryant’s largest transfer class makes the transition
Sep 05, 2023, by Stephen Kostrzewa
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It’s a great day for new beginnings, Bryant University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D., proclaims to Bryant’s incoming transfer students gathered on Move-In Day for Transfer Orientation. “You’ve picked a beautiful day to join the Bryant community,” he says, noting the perfect fall-like weather outside. “But then there are a lot of days like today at Bryant.”

Seated in the audience, Lucas Weibe ’26 couldn’t agree more; he’s enjoyed meeting new friends and staking out his room as he moved onto campus. But he’s also looking beyond this first day — to all of the days after it.

Home from the first day
This fall, 94 transfer students join the Bryant community from 17 different states and nine countries, the largest incoming transfer class in university history. The numbers are impressive, but Daniel Wystepek, Bryant's director of transfer and athletics admission, says that the real story lies within them.

“Every transfer student is unique, and has their own unique story,” he notes. “We want to make sure that Bryant is the right fit for every student who considers transferring here — and then make sure that transition is seamless as possible.”

Altogether, transfer students make up about 18 percent of the student population.  “Every transfer student who comes to Bryant adds something to our community,” says Wystepek. “They all come from different backgrounds and have different experiences, including experiences at other institutions, that they can share, and that we can all learn from.”

To help ensure that transfer students are prepared for campus life, Bryant meets them with the resources, and the welcome, they deserve, says Wystepek. “Even though it's a brand-new start for them, we want them to feel like they’re already home.”

Starting out in a new home
Incoming transfer students move in the same day as Bryant’s first-year students so they have an opportunity to acclimate themselves and settle into their new home before the upper-level students arrive.

“Bryant’s Welcome Week is for all of our new students,” notes Wystepek. “The common thread is that it’s a new beginning for everyone. They're all going through the same emotions and have many of the same questions, so we want to make everyone feels supported.”

A specially designed orientation session helps introduce new transfer students to life at Bryant. Faculty and staff representing a range of campus departments, from residential life to public safety to academic advising, provide an overview of what students need to know to thrive and make sure they know where they can go for assistance. Orientation leaders, some of whom are transfer students themselves, provide advice from first-hand experience — as well as a friend to rely on — and help the new arrivals form close bonds from their first day on campus.

This year, James Tiner ’24 was one of those orientation leaders. Quick to smile and ever eager to lend a helping hand, Tiner shared his own journey as a transfer student with his group: how he had found a new academic path in Bryant’s Digital Communications program, the many friends he had made, and the community that’s helped him feel like a valued member every step of the way.

Being an OL, he says, is a way to give back. “I’ve had such a positive Bryant experience, even though I've only been here a year,” he reflects. “I want to make sure that other students have that same experience.”

A weekly “Transfer Transitions” course helps orient transfer students throughout the semester. “You’re able to take things more in-depth week by week,” explains Gabrielle Martino ’25, who also transferred to Bryant. “One week we had somebody from the Amica Career Center come in to explain to you what they do, and the next week might be the research librarians sharing all the resources that are available to you.”

A place to belong
Martino, who admits to some butterflies in her stomach when she first came to campus in 2021, says she soon found those fears melt away. “My roommates and their friends made me feel so comfortable from day one,” Matino notes. She found opportunities to branch out as well. At the Student Involvement Fair, part of the university’s annual Welcome Week festivities, Martino was invited over to the rowing team’s table and asked if she would like to join. Though she had been an athlete in high school, Martino had never rowed before but thought it might be worth a try.

Now, she can’t wait to get back out on the water with her friends on the team.

Weibe, an incoming Finance major, says he’s already thinking about his classes and taking advantage of experiential learning opportunities like the student-managed Archway Investment Fund. He’s considering rushing one of the university’s fraternities and he’s definitely going to sign up for club soccer.

Even though it’s only his first day at a new school, Weibe is ready to hit the ground running. “I was a little nervous at first,” he admits. “But not anymore.” 

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