The Office of Transfer Student Engagement at Texas A&M University-San Antonio hosted the first Jaguar Transferpalooza event in the Central Academic Building courtyard Aug. 29.
Juan Espinoza, Transfer Student Engagement coordinator, was in charge of setting up the event with his team from Student Transition and Family Engagement, a department that includes the Office of Transfer Student Engagement.
“We coordinate programming and onboarding for three separate groups of individuals－freshmen, transfer student engagement and also family engagement,” Espinoza said.
Espinoza’s position was created in May to focus on transfer students.
“We knew that the impact on transfer students needed to be big because it’s a big percentage of our student population, and we wanted to make sure that we informed the transfer students that there was officially now an office that focused on engaging them co-curricularly,” Espinoza said.
During the event, students received T-shirts and water bottles. Students were also able to get free professional headshots.
Zachary Franckowiak, international business management junior and transfer student from Texas A&M’s main campus, shared his thoughts on the university’s engagement with transfer students.
“I’m so used to College Station, like, there being events going on,” Franckowiak said. “So it’s good to see that this university is having those events and starting to engage students and make it more of an environment that’s open, engaging and fun. It’s awesome, I love it.”
Espinoza personally picked the 12 organizations that tabled at the event.
Maryelena Lara, bilingual education senior and B.E.S.O. member, was at her organization’s table talking to students who were asking questions about the club.
“You see a lot of people here and a lot of them are interested in every organization so I think it is something really cool,” Lara said.
Lara says their goal when tabling is to have members of all majors join, and get bilingualism and biculturalism from being in the organization.
Jaguar Transferpalooza also hosted a fashion show that featured 14 transfer students.
“We have another transfer student who was an orientation leader for us this summer who’s expecting, so that’s our transfer demographic. They’re moms, dads and they have families off campus, they’re full-time workers,” Espinoza said. “How can we highlight and embrace that? So we said let’s try to do it in a creative way by doing a fashion show.”
As the students walked down the runway one by one, Espinoza announced their names, major, classification and hobbies as well as any organizations that the students were members of.
“I loved walking the fashion show, I’m a sucker for attention and I’m kind of outgoing. I liked it and I want more of this stuff,” Franckowiak said.
Jaguar Transferpalooza had over 350 transfer students in attendance, Espinoza said.
“I want to make sure that anyone who is present, whether it be faculty, staff, freshmen students, transfer students, parents, anyone who’s there in the CAB courtyard, sees that in the entire week of welcome we dedicated an entire day for transfer students,” Espinoza said. “Because we know that they’re here and because we know that they make us successful.”