Transfer Ambassador program helps new students adjust to UB
Phillip Jebamany transferred from Long Island University his sophomore year to UB, where he’s spent the past three years as a biological sciences student on a pre-med track.
For Jebamany, the larger classes challenged him to work harder.
“Seeing people be more serious about their education at UB made me more serious,” Jebamany said.
UB has recently been working on reconstructing the programs they have in place for the university’s transfer student population.
For some, entering UB as a freshman and being exposed to new places and faces is enough of a stress inducing experience to cause one to feel overwhelmed by the way UB operates. Entering UB as a transfer student, on the other hand, has its own set of obstacles to conquer and acclimate themselves to in order to be successful at this university.
Courtney Witherspoon, the new assistant director for transition in the UB Orientation, Transition & Parent Programs, has been working diligently since December of last year to make an impactful difference in transfer students’ successful transfer from their previous higher learning institution.
“There’s a big difference between seven hours distance and 10 minutes from home, [students] are just looking for greatest good,” Witherspoon said.
Witherspoon said that the ambassadors “are people who have had questions, found answers and want to give back. They know what its like to come in as transfers and it is that perspective that makes them so successful at what they do.”
Although transfer ambassadors are by no means experts on anything and everything UB related, they are constantly undergoing training and becoming more educated to help them do their jobs more effectively. Witherspoon said that transfer ambassadors help transfer students at UB “engage people on campus and in the buffalo community.”
“All of our ambassadors are all transfer students themselves,” Witherspoon said.
Jebamany wishes he had a program similar to this when he first transferred.
“If there was a program like Transfer Ambassadors helping students at UB it would have been easier to navigate and understand how the school works.”
Witherspoon said that she believes that UB should help transfer students who want to get more involved in the community both on and off campus and that she has yet to encounter someone who regrets transferring.
Once per month an informal event called Transfer Tuesday is held for transfer students and the theme changes each week. On Jan. 24, 56 transfer students came out to the office’s hot cocoa bar event and Witherspoon predicts more of a turnout for the next Transfer Tuesday on February 9.
Haley Roman, a junior occupational therapy major, started at UB this semester.
She said that at first the school was intimidating because of its size, but the buses have helped the process of moving around campus.
Roman transferred because she considers the UB program better than the one at her previous school, Mercy College. She is taking 18 credits and plans on easing into extracurriculars once she has been on campus for a while.
“I was thinking about joining a club or group but haven’t found anything that interests me just yet,” she said.
Being a full time student has helped Roman make friends, but UB still doesn’t feel quite like home yet.
“Usually at home there’s this warm cozy feeling, but I can’t say the same about Hadley,” Roman said.
Islaine Delgado, a senior psychology and sociology major, is a transfer ambassador for UB.
Delgado said their goal is to make people feel comfortable enough to go to them for help and know that UB is full of resources.
“Knowing that someone is there to help answer questions is reassuring for students,” Delgado said.
The class size and culture shock of UB can be difficult for students, especially those who had already adjusted to a different college. The new Transfer Ambassador program can provide a solution and positive resource for these people.
“When friends of mine have transferred from their school to UB I try my best to guide them,” Jebamany said. “This Transfer Ambassadors program is probably a much better resource than what I could offer them.”
Tomas Olivier is the features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org