POULTNEY — After postponing it for a snow day, Green Mountain College hosted a college fair Thursday in the Waldron Academic Center, where more than 30 colleges from across the country met with students to discuss their path going forward.
Inside the gymnasium, tables were lined up emblazoned with their campus colors, covered in flyers, business cards and dishes of candy.
“I thought it was pretty good,” said Taylor Hough, Norwich University admissions representative. “I saw a lot of students this morning and this afternoon. They’re just kind of trickling in and finding the next best fit for them.”
Hough said Norich, which has 34 majors, is looking at a large incoming class, around 880 students, and they’re always looking for more.
“We’re hoping for the best, we’ve got a strong applicant pool this year,” Hough said.
Siena College representative Jennifer Sloan said the turnout was rather slow, but she remained hopeful that students would choose Siena for their common programs and themes.
“As far as the community feeling, the small class sizes, our environmental studies and science programs seem to really align with some students I was speaking with today,” Sloan said.
Siena College has about 3,000 students and over 30 majors, and Sloan said they’re prepared to take on as many students as want to come to their Loudonville, New York, campus.
“I can just tell from the students that I spoke to, that even though the school is closing, they still have a lot of pride,” Sloane said. “More than just academics, they want a community they can join, feel a part of, make a difference,” Sloan said.
Amber Harris, associate director of admissions for Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona, said as GMC’s main teachout partner for their students said. they’re making every preparation possible for the transfer of students and teachers.
“Student housing, handling meetings with various folks around the college, inviting faculty from Green Mountain, a couple of them are on our campus this week,” Harris said. “This even involves us considering different degree programs that we’ve never considered before.”
Prescott College president John Flicker and GMC president Robert Allen are still developing plans for the GMC sustainability center or institute being created at Prescott College to carry on the GMC name, Harris said, but both colleges are moving full-steam ahead.
Several GMC faculty have sent letters of intent to transfer already, Harris said.
“We’re fully prepared to accept as many as we’re able to, that are in line with our program,” Harris said. “We’re in need of looking for some teachers as well, so it really just works out.”
Tim Patterson, dean of admissions and financial aid at Sterling College in Craftsbury, said his college is prepared to take on anywhere between 20 to 25 students to join the already 125 students on Sterling’s campus.
“We’ll help as many as we can until we hit capacity,” Patterson said.
Sterling was awarded a 3.5 million grant for the Wendell Berry Farming Program, a two-year program focused on sustainable agriculture entirely tuition-free, and have West Coast and global field study programs.
Sterling is also open to taking on some faculty, Patterson said.
“Had some great conversations with some great students who are in a really difficult spot right now,” said Caren Anderson, director of transfer admissions at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York.
There are 2,500 full-time undergrads at LeMoyne, and 200 transfer students come to LeMoyne every year, Anderson said.
“We would be more in line with the liberal arts and humanities areas that they offer here,” Anderson said. “We’re very fortunate that this past fall, we brought in our second largest class in the college’s history. We’re riding the tide pretty well.”
Best friends Lillie Pinette and Kiara Santiago, both freshmen and animal conservation majors at GMC, said they were leaning heavily toward Prescott and the New College in Florida.
“They have the closest majors I wanted,” Pinette said. “The locations are really nice. It’s going to be difficult, transitioning.”
Pinette said she’s considering a switch to marine biology, but she’s looking forward to a fresh start.
Newton, Massachusetts, native Santiago said she’s also considering Juniata College in Pennsylvania.
Both students said they mourned the closing of GMC, and felt they’d lost a second home to them.
“I felt like I finally found a place where I belonged,” Santiago said. “It’s always going to be with me. I found Lillie! She’s my best friend!”
Pinette said, “It’s almost like ... the academics, residence life, everything was a good fit for me.”