Two Campuses, One Pace (?)

The Disconnect Between Pace’s New York City and Pleasantville Campuses


Despite advertising itself as one school, students at Pace University say that your experience differs greatly depending on which campus you attend, and that there is a strong sense of disconnect between Pace NYC and Pace Pleasantville.

Emily Teixeira

Pace University may be one school, however, undergraduates attending in-person classes say that one’s experience here varies greatly depending on which campus they choose. Students from Pace Pleasantville and Pace NYC have reported feeling a disconnect between the two campuses, and students who have visited both describe a difference in the general environment and culture.

“Over here kind of feels like our own little town,” says Aramis Ramos, a recent Pleasantville grad, who visited the city campus on a few occasions to visit friends there. “Everyone kind of knows each other. Over there, you could have your friend group and then just never associate with anybody else for any other reason. You’re not interacting with too many people outside a classroom setting. You definitely feel like you could make a difference here, get involved in many facets of the campus life. Over there it’s like, you’re doing something, but I don’t feel like you’re doing it for the community’s sake unless you’re in RHA, and even so it feels too big to feel like you’re making a difference over there.”

Ramos also says that the city campus has fewer common spaces in which students can hang out and socialize, such as Pleasantville’s Kessel Student Center.

“I mean, they have something like it, but it’s a completely different vibe than this, it feels very detached,” Ramos says. “It doesn’t feel like an environment that values humanity. Everything is white. It kind of feels like a hospital.”

Gillian Holland, a recent city campus grad, visited attended last year’s homecoming game, and during her visit noted that Pleasantville had far more community-oriented spaces when compared to the city campus, making it easier for students to socialize.

“None of the dorms here except for Maria’s tower have community spaces really besides the kitchen,” Holland says. “Kids can’t really hang out and get to know each other besides being in their rooms, which I think is a drawback honestly. You never bump into people… it’s like an apartment style of living, not community dorming.”

Holland, a self-proclaimed hippie, says that she loved the relative quietness, nature, and open spaces present on the Pleasantville campus. While the city campus dining hall offers a broader range of vegan and vegetarian options, Holland appreciated Kessel’s range of places to sit and socialize. However, despite the fact that Holland found Pleasantville’s facilities and buildings inviting, she did not get the same impression from all of the people she encountered.

“I don’t wanna say it wasn’t friendly, but it wasn’t welcoming,” Holland says. “We were at the tail gate. In New York… you would easily mingle your way into a conversation. It felt like everybody in Pleasantville campus stuck to who they knew. They didn’t see a new face and immediately try to figure out who they were.”

Bukuriya Choudhry, another recent city campus grad, describes New York City students as open and welcoming. Both she and Holland felt that coming to college gave them the opportunity to be themselves and find acceptance. Choudhry, bullied for her extroverted nature in her small high school, says that her seventeen-year-old self would cry tears of joy seeing all the opportunities she has found here at Pace. Holland says that she feels more confident in her identity and is better able to embrace herself.

Based on her observations of both campuses, Holland believes that Pleasantville students are more likely to center their lives around campus, while New York City students are more likely to branch out into the world around them. Since Pleasantville students have plenty of space on campus to meet and interact with friends and host events, they have less of a need to leave, while New York City students have both greater need and greater opportunity to interact with people and places outside of their school.

“They definitely do feel like two separate worlds,” Holland says. “When I went to Pleasantville, and I would tell people I was from the New York City campus, most of the time their response was like ‘Ooh, I could never.’ When you talk about Pleasantville to New York City kids, they’re like ‘Oh hell no!’ You didn’t come to Pace for both schools. You chose which campus you wanted to go to and that’s the lifestyle that you think best suits you.”

Anastasia Bolotowsky, a current senior on the Pleasantville campus who attended classes in the city last spring, also finds that Pace’s two campuses tend to attract different types of students. People who want a more traditional college experience and a widespread outdoor environment will choose Pace Pleasantville, while those who want to experience the hustle, bustle, and overall aura of the Big City will go with Pace NYC.

“One thing you notice is how people dress,” Bolotowsky says. “In New York City, people are always dressed to the nines it feels like. Obviously, some people are not, but that’s what you see a lot. At Pleasantville, sweatpants are acceptable to wear to pretty much every class.”

Bolotowsky feels that Pleasantville has a more relaxed vibe to it, while the city campus tends to take itself a bit more seriously. Emily Shafer, a senior on the city campus, agrees.

“On my campus it’s like everyone’s in a hurry and everyone’s always dressed really fancy and competes to have the nicest clothes,” Shafer says. “It’s a little elitist maybe, I don’t know. That’s what it seems like.”

According to Shafer, the behavior and culture among city campus students tends to vary by major. In her experience, performing arts majors are more likely to be cliquey, while her fellow English majors are very friendly.

Kayla Slusser, a Pleasantville senior who has taken multiple virtual English classes hosted by city campus professors, also finds that the city’s English department tends to be kind, friendly, and accommodating. When a literature course she was supposed to take at the Pleasantville campus was cancelled, she had to find a replacement course. Since Pleasantville offers few upper-level literature classes, Slusser had to look to the city campus for more options. Her schedule was too packed to allow her to commute to the city, so the professor set up a Hyflex option for her, even though the class was not originally supposed to have virtual components.

“The professors in the English department have been fantastic, they’re super sweet and super nice,” Slusser says.

However, Slusser has noticed that, while her English professors and classmates have been kind and accommodating, she has heard that the city campus tends to exclude Pleasantville students from their events.

“They’ll host events there and strictly say New York City students only, you’re not allowed,” Slusser says. “But I feel like with all of our events on this campus, we open it up to New York City students, so I think that’s kind of rude. We’re supposed to be one school. It’s frustrating to see that they’re keeping the events to themselves when we allow them to come to ours.”

Ramos reports difficulties getting on to the city campus.

“The security system is so overdone,” says Ramos. “I had a Pace University ID, and this alarm sounded super loud when I scanned it because I don’t go to that campus. Just a lot of red tape for me to get on the campus, which sucked. It took me forever.”

Ramos says that, while Pace students are encouraged to take classes on each campus, there is little in place to actually facilitate that; students do not receive welcomes, introductions, or resources to help them navigate when they arrive at their non-primary campus. Choudhry describes the sense of an “unofficial rivalry” between the campuses as to which is better, and Bolotowsky reports hearing a city campus professor casually mention his desire to see the Pleasantville campus disbanded.

Even though most students feel a disconnect between the two campuses, they wish that Pleasantville and New York City could have stronger positive relationships with one another.

Slusser wishes that the city could offer more online options for Pleasantville students unable to commute, especially as she struggles to find upper-level literature courses to help her complete her major at Pleasantville.

Schafer says that she felt great sense of camaraderie with Pleasantville students from the online creative writing class she took last spring, even if they only met once a week, and she would love to come down to see a sporting event on the Pleasantville campus if she ever gets the chance.

Ramos, who enjoys playing chess, has found people to play with on the city campus and says that the city offers a different array of opportunities and activities for students and fulfills different niches.

Choudhry wishes that the city campus had more events that invited Pleasantville students to participate, rather than having it be mostly city campus kids seeking out Pleasantville events.

Bolotowsky encourages Pleasantville students to take classes on the city campus if they can.

“It helps to go with a group, especially people you’re friends with,” Bolotowsky says. “You should make a day of it. Also, it helps to not stay in the building. This is cheesy, but when they say the city is your campus, they mean it, and it’s good to interact outside Pace Plaza, go around the area, discover new things.”

Holland sees great opportunity for collaboration between clubs on both campuses and believes that students should take advantage of the unique opportunities that each campus offers.

“I do think that there’s the opportunity to create this brotherhood” Holland says. “The shuttle is there, the Metro North is there, and also, my mentality is that I’m paying for both of these schools with my tuition, I might as well experience the both of them. I wish that we got along more. I think that both campuses have negative connotations about the other one that we stigmatize into our ideas about them. Which is why I think everybody should just go. Why not?”