By Ellen Petersen, The Circuit
Four women sit together in a cramped Elizabeth Hall room where they are still in the process of establishing their new home.
They are four of more than two-dozen transfers from St. Gregory’s University, Shawnee, Okla., which closed at the end of last semester after being denied a financial loan application.
Left without a school, the women felt Benedictine the most natural option, as it closely resembled their own Midwestern, Benedictine school.
“We kept saying ‘that was our low, now we are on the up,’” said junior Alyssa Woolums. “We got a new president who was making a lot of changes, campus ministry was being turned around, we were starting new households. “We thought we would [be growing] like Franciscan [University had done]. Apparently that wasn’t the case. We all thought we were doing better.”
They explained that they all applied to Benedictine the night after they found out the school would be closing. Over 80 schools showed up to help assist students in financial and academic advising.
“[They wanted] to help you no matter which school they were from,” Woolums said.
Fairs were held for the faculty and staff to provide them with opportunities for work, as well.
“One of the students who was the President of the SGA started a GoFundMe and raised over $13,000 to give the faculty’s family [for] Christmas,” Woolums said.
They also detailed that although the sports coaches were immediately considered unemployed, they continued to show up to work with their athletes and assist them in making connections with other schools’ athletic programs.
One of the roommates had a particularly unique situation in that she had just transferred to St. Gregory’s the same semester it closed.
“It’s been a little crazy, but now I’m good at it,” junior Hannah Breese said. “I think I was more excited about it than they were because I wasn’t there as long.”
Now that the women are getting situated, they look forward to getting involved, although they all relayed it would be much different from their time at St. Gregory’s.
“We were changing things at St. Greg’s,” Woolums said. “We felt like we could make the school whatever we wanted. I am sure, maybe eventually, we can get to that point here, but Benedictine is so developed. We felt called to [change things] at St. Gregory’s, but we cannot influence things they way that we could at St. Gregory’s.”
As the transfers started their semester at Benedictine, Campus and Residence Life met up with the students to help their integration process.
“I think they felt [that] we rolled out the red carpet for them, and did as much as we could to meet their needs financially and here as students,” said Joe Wurtz, Dean of Student Life.
The women are looking forward to taking advantage of Benedictine’s Catholic identity and becoming more involved during this spring semester of 2018.