Thanksgiving at the Cross!

It’s that time on campus! The brisk Worcester winter has settled on campus as we all crank up the heat in our dorm rooms and trade out the sweatshirts for our heavier winter jackets, hats, and gloves. Switching out or ice coffees and teas for hot coffee and chocolate from Cool Beans and Cafe Babel, the winter spirit really is flourishing on campus!

A staple of wintertime on the Hill is our annual Thanksgiving dinner at Kimball Dining Hall! This year’s meal included turkey (of course), mash potatoes, gravy, squash, cranberry sauce, rolls, salad, corn, apple cider, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and vanilla ice cream! As I had moot court practice later that night that our captain decided that we would all have a team Thanksgiving dinner before we headed off to practice our oral arguments.

Due to Kimball Thanksgiving Dinner being so popular, the moot court team arrived 15 minutes before dinner began to get to the front of the line. As we waited for dining services to put all the food out a line began to form behind us that looped all the way around the entire dining room! Filling our plates up with a variety of traditional Thanksgiving food we quickly hurried off to our 18 person table where we all feasted, stuffing ourselves with food till we could barely move.  Eating and laughing about funny moments between the team members, time quickly flew by, forcing us to hurry to our practice with pumpkin and apple pies with ice cream on our plates. Our coaches met us laughing, asking us why none of us brought a pie for themselves. Just as the Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated the friendship and community between the two peoples at the first Thanksgiving, the student body celebrates the friendship and community that permeates throughout the Holy Cross campus.

Kimball Dining Hall where the majority of campus gathers to eat meals.
A picture of the pumpkin pie Holy Cross students were treated to at Thanksgiving Dinner.

What Am I Thankful For?

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have decided that it would be a fruitful exercise for myself, as well as any prospective students, to discuss why I am so thankful for my Holy Cross education.

At the expense of sounding cliche, I am so thankful for all the friends I have made so far at my time on the Hill. I could have never imagined the amount and quality of friends I find myself having now during my studies. Actually, being unable to make any friends at college was one of my biggest, if not the biggest, fears I had the summer before I came to campus for the first time. However, such fears of mine were greatly misplaced. I first met my two closest friends during Fall Orientation, and we have stuck together ever since. Furthermore, through my classes, living situation, extra-curricular activities, and a plethora of social events, I have made more friends than I could have ever imagined.

These people I have become friends with over the past year and a half have greatly contributed to the improvement of my self-character, something that I will be forever thankful for. All the memories and life lessons we have taught each other, or have received together, will never leave me.  As I toured, researched, and considered the College of the Holy Cross as a destination for my undergraduate studies I had constantly heard everyone talk about how the Holy Cross community was so friendly and caring; thinking that much of that could be chalked up to marketing. However, I can testify that such language is not marketing, but simply the truth. Administrators, students, professors, and even maintenance workers all hold relationships that lead to a loving, caring, and joyful community on the Hill that is a once in a lifetime experience.

I am so thankful that I am surrounded by such a great community that will stay with me for the rest of my life.  If making friends or having a great community around you is a must for your undergraduate experience, I highly suggest becoming a part of the Holy Cross Family.

A Group of Friends that Will Never Break Up

 

Rushing in the Second Year!

Mount Saint James is abuzz with excitement in the first couple of months of the school year! Between the construction of the new recreation center and the new performing arts center, the campus has never been busier than ever!

When I returned to campus to begin fall classes it was as though I had never left. Having dinner in Kimball with friends, going to classes in Stein and Smith Hall, and studying late into the nights in Dinand put me right back into the groove of things!

The second year of Holy Cross has also opened up so many new avenues for me as a student to explore! While I have been busy with my classwork, as usual, I have also been busy with so many extracurricular activities on campus!

Being a now second-year “veteran” in the school’s Moot Court Team has lead to me diving into the matters of constitutional law more than I had ever thought I would in my lifetime. Recently, the school just held its Moot Court invitational, where my partner and I successfully made it past the first-day competition to the highly coveted “out-rounds” of the tournament. While I was eventually knocked out, Holy Cross proudly showed our HC Pride as the finals of the tournament were held between two Holy Cross teams!

Becoming a more active member of the school’s College Democrats chapter, I have had an abundance of opportunities to get involved with politics on the local and state level. I started off the year with a few other Holy Cross students attending the Worcester Labor Breakfast where we all held signs for senatorial-candidate Congressman Joe Kennedy!

While this summer was an amazing experience for me, I am so grateful and happy to be back on campus: my second home with my second family.

 

Dinand Library, my absolute favorite spot on campus!
A rendering of the new Performing Arts Center
A rendering of the new recreation center!

 

A First Year in Review

With the year winding down (or maybe not in the case of final papers and exams) I have decided to reflect on all of the contents of my first year as a crusader.

Starting out the year with knowing absolutely no one on campus I had no clue how my first year at college was going to be. Would I make friends? Would I enjoy my classes? Would I stay at Holy Cross after my first year was over? If I could travel back in time I would tell past-me that the answer to all of those questions was a resounding yes.

Some of my best friends are those who I first met during fall orientation.  As I discussed with our friend group last night, while we’ve only known each other since last August, it feels as though I’ve shared a lifetime with them already. Through classes and extra-curricular activities such as mock trial and moot court, I made friends that have impacted me in ways that I never thought were imaginable. When people claim that the Holy Cross community is like a family, they aren’t just saying that to sound cute, they really mean it.

College classes were my second biggest concern. Looking back at all my courses, I can say that I enjoyed every single one so far. All of my professors were dedicated to seeing their students succeed in their classes. And while the course work at Holy Cross is very rigorous, with the right amount of dedication and effort anything is manageable.  The class content has always been interesting and engaging, and I can say that because of my first year of Holy Cross education I have become both a better student and citizen.

I almost laugh at myself when I think back to the time when I thought there might be a chance that I would transfer from Holy Cross at the end of my first year. I wouldn’t trade away any part of my first year at Holy Cross for anything in the world, even those stressful nights studying for exams or writing papers. The friends, the memories I’ve made with those friends, and everything else I experienced during my first year has made a lasting impact on me.

My experiences at Holy Cross have changed me for the better; I wouldn’t trade that away for anything.

My first-year home, Hanselman Hall.

A Campus Away From Campus

While Holy Cross has a wonderful campus with essentially unlimited extracurricular opportunities, I do have to admit that sometimes you develop that need to get away from campus for a few hours. Thankfully, the college has its very own retreat center less than 25 minutes away!

Holy Cross’s retreat center, the Joyce Contemplative Center, presents students with an amazing opportunity to get away from what can sometimes be a busy campus and simply slow things down to reflect on life. Located on a hilltop that overlooks gorgeous hills and a waterway, the JCC always offers an amazing sunset for students to look at! Most of the college’s retreats are held at the JCC. There are retreats for first-year students, the LGBTQ+ community, as well as a variety of other retreats that offer amazing opportunities. I definitely recommend trying to get to the JCC at least once during your first year at Holy Cross!

On a snowy day in February, I and my Montserrat classmates piled into school vans at Hogan to make the journey to the JCC. While pulling up the driveway our gaze was met with a beautiful contemporary building that just screamed: “forget about all your classes for an hour and just relax!” In the snow and cold, we all dashed to the entrance where we were greeted by a cozy crackling fireplace and a spacious dining room. On the left side of the building, there were hotel rooms for overnight retreats and there was a beautiful fully glass contemplation room that overlooks the surrounding nature located in the back of the building where we ended up performing our group presentations.

The main attraction for students is not just the beautiful building, the serene campus, or the escape from coursework. No, what do college students love almost more than anything else? FOOD of course! The JCC is renowned for dishing out some of the tastiest meals every single crusader has ever experienced in their lives. My meal was no different. With chicken parm as the main course with fresh veggies, salad, pasta, and garlic bread as sides I was stuffed. Oh wait, did I forget to mention that they also have freshly baked cookies for dessert?

Whether it’s for the retreat, the beautiful building, the serene campus, or the food; I can’t recommend going to the JCC at least once during your freshmen year!

An aerial shot of the Joyce Contemplative Center during the fall
A view of the deck of the JCC that overlooks the surrounding nature
Take a virtual tour of the JCC!

Night at the Museum Holy Cross Style!

Ever wanted to spend a night at a museum? Well at Holy Cross that is a real possibility! The first-year student Montserrat program held an event where the entire Worcester Art Museum (ranked one of the best art museums in the nation) closed down and was solely open to Holy Cross students!

The event presented the once in a lifetime opportunity to see five famous exhibitions accompanied by equally famous musicians.  One such musician being famed cello player Jan Muller-Szeraws.

While the night’s program was specifically established for students in the Global Voices Cluster, a cluster that I am not part of, my Montserrat class taught by Professor Hooper was graciously extended an invitation to attend. The event was held in such high esteem that everyone on campus was trying to attend the event that night.

Knowing very little about the field of art or the genres of music I was going to experience that night, I didn’t know what to exactly expect. However, on the van ride back to campus late that night, I reflected on the experience and discovered that I really enjoyed the entire event.

Students were able to see famous works of arts by Monet, Jackson Pollock, and a variety of other pieces created by famous artists. Each gallery was paired with a musician, giving students the opportunity to indulge their eyes as well as their ears at the same moment. Taking in the sights and sounds at the same time was truly magical. Even music that was composed by Holy Cross’s very own Professor Shirish Korde was performed for the students!

The night was capped off with an event in the beautiful Renaissance Court where Kevin Chen of the Class 2021 performed an amazing rendition of Maurice Ravel’s Prelude from Le Tombeau de Couperin which was met with deafening and thunderous applause from everyone present in the museum.

The night at the museum was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am so grateful I was able to experience. I am sure future students will be offered events that parallel in the amazingness of the Global Voices Montserrat’s Night at the Museum!

Hitting the Airwaves with a Bang!

Starting Off with a Bang!

Despite radio being in decline around the country, it is surely not dead at college campuses around the nation, especially at Holy Cross! Throughout the day and night students across campus tune into 88.1FM WCHC to listen to a host of shows created by their very own peers! Holy Cross provides a wide array of shows for everyone’s taste; ranging from sports talk to politics to just your regular music genre station!

A common scene on weeknights is a group of students gathering around a Bluetooth speaker in the common rooms of the dorms listening to the shows of their friends while doing work. Even members of the local Worcester community tune into the station at various times through the stereo systems of their cars. The Holy Cross radio station serves as a way to foster a greater sense of community on campus among the students. Students even have the opportunity to call into a dedicated phone line to be a part of the show themselves!

Essentially, any student has the opportunity to have their very own radio show if they are dedicated enough! All it takes is simply emailing the director to receive training to make sure you are able to operate the equipment and are aware of the FCC rules and regulations.

I was honored this past week by being selected as the first guest on Holy Cross’s very own Jacob Carey’s Sadboi Hours, held on Thursday nights at 11 PM.  The show is dedicated to emotional music that allows individuals to express their feelings. However, the show also features segments that range from pop-culture talk to humorous storying telling that is sure to evoke laughter from everyone listening.

The first airing of the show was received with applause by the greater Holy Cross community. People were posting videos of themselves and friends alike laughing at the commentary of the hosts on their SnapChat stories and other social media platforms.  Upon our return to our dorm building, Jacob and I were met by a gaggle of friends that were ecstatic at the first of many shows to come!

The logo of Sadboi Hours with Jake and Friends
The founder of the show, Jacob Carey

Invasion of the Guest Speakers

Hand in hand with the arrival of second semester on campus comes the arrival of guest speakers sponsored by the McFarland Center. Every couple of weeks the McFarland Center allows students the opportunity to interact with individuals who have shaped the society we live in. Events usually include a 45-minute lecture by the guest speaker followed with time for questions and interacting with the guest. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you may even be chosen to attend a dinner with faculty, staff, and the very lecturer themselves! Have you ever wanted to meet an award-winning author? A distinguished researcher? A famous politician or social activist? The McFarland center brings these very people onto campus in order to give students the opportunity to learn from these individuals in real time, not just through the articles written about them!

The McFarland Center started the semester off with a bang by bringing famed historian Jill Lepore to campus for a talk about “The Rise and Fall of Fact.” Jill Lepore attracted such a crowd that students had to lean against the wall to hear here lecture after all available seats were taken up! Lepore presented on the history of the fact, educating the entire audience on when, why, and how journalism evolved throughout history. After her lecture, Lepore spent a generous amount of time masterfully answering the audience’s questions and doing book signings before heading off to dinner, which I graciously had the opportunity to attend. Getting to eat and talk with the famed historian was a once in a lifetime opportunity that any Holy Cross student would have jumped at the opportunity to have. Talking with Lepore about her time growing up in West Boylston and critical topics such as the state of journalism was an amazing experience.

The McFarland Center also brought former Obama Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to campus where he spoke about the moral and ethical dilemmas associated with the refugee crisis that the world is experiencing. There was outstanding attendance as the Rehm Library was quickly filled up with students to the point where students were sitting on the floor to just hear from the former Chief of Staff. McDonough lectured about how the refugee system operates while including personal stories that highlight just how important refugees are to the country. McDonough appeared to be one of the more lax speakers, effortlessly tossing out jokes that never failed to get the student body to chuckle.

With more guest speakers scheduled the McFarland Center is sure to continue providing these amazing opportunities to students for the rest of the school year!

Jill Lepore lectures students about the “Rise and Fall of the Fact”
Former Obama Chief of Staff Denis McDonough lectures students about the refugee crisis.

Nonprofit Conference 2019

The Annual Holy Cross NPCC 

One of the amazing things about going to Holy Cross is the limitless opportunities to expose yourself to different things to continue your education! Back in November, all students received an email about applying to the annual Nonprofit Conference that would be held on campus during the last week of winter break. Being interested in the nonprofit sector myself, I decided to jump at the opportunity to attend the conference. After going over my application which included three essays and securing references from my various professor I submitted my application and eagerly waited to see if I was accepted to the conference.

At the end of November, I received a notification on my phone about the status of my application. While being anxious and excited at the same time, I quickly opened the email to see an acceptance letter to the conference!

As Winter break was coming to a close I arrived on campus a week early to participate in the conference. On the first day, I was able to meet a wide variety of Holy Cross students from all class years, which was honestly one of the best things about the conference. The conference offered the opportunity to make friends among all class years, creating a real sense of community on campus.

The conference provided an abundance of opportunities for students who are considering pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector. From presentations and workshops brought by alumni and professors to alumni dinners and case study sites that we traveled to there was a  never a dull moment.

Case studies provided students with real-life problems facing actual Worcester nonprofits that the students had to solve. The conference provided students with the opportunity to learn and provide for the surrounding Worcester community, truly upholding Holy Cross’ mission of “men and women for others.”

It’s Christmastime on Campus!

It’s that time of year, Christmastime! Seemingly everyone, whether or not you are religious, has a soft spot in their heart for Christmas. Christmas brings with it activities that provide us with boundless limits of joy, and Christmas on campus is no different! While students themselves may kick off the Christmas spirit by decorating their doors and rooms in the residence halls, the Purple Key Society on campus sets the mood with their annual Christmas tree lighting outside of O’Kane Hall.

Being in attendance at the Christmas tree lighting myself, I can testify that it was truly something magical. Making the walk with a group of friends from Hanselman Hall to O’Kane in the brisk winter air set the mood for a fun-filled and festive night ahead. When we arrived at the celebration we were greeted with cookies and hot chocolate along with a very enthusiastic Santa that was trying to convince everyone to take pictures after the tree lighting. The event began with a multitude of performances from campus bands and singing groups that got everyone into the Christmas spirit with hits such as “Jingle Bell Rock” and Mariah Carey’s famous “All I want for Christmas” and culminated with the blessing and lighting of the campus Christmas tree!

 

Students gather for Christmas tree lighting.
Christmas tree lighting occurs at the end of the event.