Prospectives’ Perspectives on the Bronx Vary

Photo+by+Drew+Dipane%2FThe+Ram+Students+and+families+gathered+during+the+day+outside+of+Hughes+Hall+to+take+tours+provided+by+Rose+Hill+Society.
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Prospectives’ Perspectives on the Bronx Vary

Photo by Drew Dipane/The Ram Students and families gathered during the day outside of Hughes Hall to take tours provided by Rose Hill Society.

Photo by Drew Dipane/The Ram Students and families gathered during the day outside of Hughes Hall to take tours provided by Rose Hill Society.

Photo by Drew Dipane/The Ram Students and families gathered during the day outside of Hughes Hall to take tours provided by Rose Hill Society.

Photo by Drew Dipane/The Ram Students and families gathered during the day outside of Hughes Hall to take tours provided by Rose Hill Society.

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Photo by Drew Dipane/The Ram Students and families gathered during the day outside of Hughes Hall to take tours provided by Rose Hill Society.

(Photo by Drew Dipane/The Ram)
Students and families gathered during the day outside of Hughes Hall to take tours provided by Rose Hill Society.

By JEFFREY COLTIN

Ask just about anyone on campus and they will say their perception of the Bronx has changed since coming to Fordham.

As Rose Hill students, we are all aware of the borough’s poor national reputation.  Borough President Ruben Diaz, even centered this year’s State of the Borough address on fighting the stereotype that the Bronx is unsafe, as previously mentioned in “Fordham in the Bronx” V.95, i.6. For some ill-informed newcomers, it’s a shock that students don’t get mugged the minute they reach Fordham Road.

On no day is the topic of Fordham students’ off-campus safety more discussed than the annual President’s Spring Preview.  This past Sunday, Rose Hill was abuzz with admitted students.  Some had already decided to attend Fordham in the fall, while others used the day to test the proverbial waters and see if they felt comfortable at Fordham, and in the Bronx.

Prospective student Megan Raymond had a mixed experience.

“With the wrought iron gates, I did feel very protected inside, whereas not so much when I stepped off-campus,” Raymond said.

This was only Raymond’s second time visiting the Bronx.  She said it was very different from her home in suburban Horsham, Pa.  Despite her reservations, Raymond saw the campus’ location as a good thing.  “You get the green, bucolic college experience, but you can take a train and be in the middle of midtown Manhattan,” she said.

Coming from Syosset, Long Island, prospective student Laura Sanicola said she had qualms about coming to Fordham because of its reputation of being in a “rough area.”  “Now that I’m here, I realize that it’s a safe place, but when I was applying, I was definitely very concerned,” she said.  “I live in a suburban area — no crime, nothing happens.  Nothing interesting, but nothing scary either.  And New York is the opposite.  There’s always something going on, either great or unfortunate.”

High schoolers’ hometowns seemed to have a big influence on what they thought of the Bronx.  Tim Kelly from Queens was visiting campus with his parents.  His mother Francine said that coming from Queens, she did not have any concerns of the Bronx.

“It’s really a comfortable feeling [being here],” she said.

But hometown was not everything.  Prospective student Molly Simio is from suburban Hillsdale, NJ, but her father did not seem to be worried about his daughter’s safety at Fordham.  And why should he?  He is Frank Simio, GSB ’83, the University’s vice president of Finance.  Moving to the city is not as tough when you have had someone go before you.

“I guess it’s a little bit intimidating,” the younger Simio said, “but my sister [Megan Simio, GSB ’13] does go here and she hasn’t had any problems with it.”

Prospective student Cat Gallagher of Louisville, Ky. said people back home didn’t have such a positive response.  “They think, ‘Oh you’re going to New York? The Bronx? That’s terrifying.’  She said they “definitely worry that I’m going to be murdered within my first day of being here.”

The Bronx clearly is still fighting stereotypes — at least among the country’s high school students.  Gallagher’s aunt, a New Jersey resident, had a more fair perspective of Rose Hill: “There wouldn’t be that many people here — it wouldn’t be as great of a university and as prestigious as it is if it was a horrible place to come!”

Sure enough, not everyone is afraid of the Bronx.  A Fordham admissions rep says the school received a record of more than 36,000 applications — the 21st straight year of increased applications.