Welcome, Fall

Walking around campus these last few weeks, there is a clear feeling that the Holy Cross community is back. After a year and a half of dispersion, isolation, and change, all class years are back on campus for the first time since March 2020. The familiar sights and feelings of the campus community have brought a sense of normalcy and peace on Mount St. James. Chatting with classmates before in-person classes, making plans with friends to meet at Cool Beans, and seeing the typical weekday line to get into Kimball during the lunch rush has brought a sense of campus unity back to the Hill. 

This fall offers the opportunity for reunion, one that I am very excited for as I begin my final year at Holy Cross (a sentence I cannot believe that I am writing – time flies!). Being back together in the classrooms and seeing extracurriculars start up again are an exciting prospect for this semester. In the early days of the pandemic, I sincerely missed the feeling of being busy on campus and filling my time with different on-campus activities. The ability to gather face-to-face after all this time and getting to recruit underclassmen to join different organizations has been an exciting part of returning to campus this year. 

This fall, I am looking forward to exploring Worcester more. Due to the pandemic, in an attempt to limit exposure, I have missed the chance to explore the different sites the city has to offer. Most recently, I attended my first Worcester Red Sox game and got to explore Polar Park. Seeing the different local Worcester vendors and the greater city community together at the park was an exciting way to get back into the city after so much time away. Gathering with other Holy Cross students and seeing other Worcester students at the game as well was a great way to reconnect with the city and see the beginning of a return to normalcy as we move through the pandemic. 

I am also looking forward to revisiting old connections I have made with the city of Worcester. This year, I will be serving as one of the Student Programs for Urban Development (SPUD) Interns. As part of my role, I will work with other members of SPUD to help facilitate the organization’s transition back into in-person service for the first time since March 2020. Reaching out to and re-establishing connections we hold with the Worcester community has been an exciting way to immerse myself in Worcester once again. I cannot wait to return to working with my students in an in-person setting after so much time apart! 

This fall offers a unique opportunity not only to immerse myself in the campus community, but the Worcester community as well. As my time at Holy Cross slowly draws to a close, I am most looking forward to using this fall as an opportunity to soak in every moment that makes me love this community. Getting to walk around campus every day, to get to smile and talk with various members of campus, is an opportunity I am so grateful for and one that I have missed greatly. I am looking forward to the smaller moments on campus above all. The feeling of excitement while tailgating for home football games, seeing the Fenwick ivy change colors at the beginning of the fall season, and soaking in some sun on the Hoval are all smaller moments that make this fall so exciting to me. This fall is a unique moment for Holy Cross, one that I am so excited to see what it has in store for the Hill.

 

~Michaela Lake ’22

The Future is Now for Campus Tours

 

A few weeks ago, we began offering campus tours and like many colleges, our tours look a bit different from the past.  We’re keeping tour groups intentionally small and spending as much time outside as possible.   In addition, just this week, Holy Cross was featured in an article by Inside Higher Education about the future of the campus tour.  

What an exciting moment it was to once again welcome prospective students and their families to our campus. As excited as our guests have been, our tour guides have been equally as excited to show off their school, their campus and to talk about their experience as a Holy Cross student.  

There was so much excitement, in fact, that all the available tours for the summer quickly booked.  Recently, we’ve been able to add more tour spaces and there’s now availability throughout the rest of the summer.

With the return of visitors, I am reminded of a blog entry I wrote 13 years ago about campus tours as some of it bears repeating.  On college campuses, too often we see a family pour out of their car, run to catch the tour, the information session and then sprint back to the car to make it to the next campus for the next tour and information session.

I’m here today to call upon everyone just to slow down.

Seriously – slow down.

 

Billy Collins ‘63 (U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003) said the following about education:

 

Although teaching and learning themselves have been motorized by the hyper-pace of information, it is good to remember that the true tempo of education has always involved a deceleration. . . .  a shift from the urgencies and demands of the world to the more leisurely pace of discussion, the cadence of study and reflection, the seeming stop-time of engrossed thought.

 

When visiting colleges this summer, instead of sprinting from car to tour to info session to car, I want to encourage families to simply slow down.  Schedule your visits so there’s enough time to linger, to truly experience a college campus.  

The most valuable insight from a college visit often comes when you’re not looking for it – a door held for you when you least expect it; the friendly smile from a professor who passes you on the sidewalk; or a conversation between students you overhear at the campus coffee shop.  You’ll only notice these if your pace is leisurely and you just might experience the best part of education – the deliberate and delightful deceleration.

 

~Drew Carter | Deputy Director of Admission

 

Three Lessons of College Admissions

 

As I wrap up my first year post-graduation, and working for the College there are a number of lessons I have learned about the College Admissions process. Lessons I wish I would have been privy to all those years ago when I was applying for Colleges. I have summed up three lessons I have learned while working in college admissions. I hope these lessons are helpful to you as you navigate the College Admissions process, regardless of where you might be in that process: 

 

Applications get read and re-read and sometimes re-re-read 

Holy Cross uses a holistic approach to admission. We value every aspect of an applicant’s background, and we read every part of the application to ensure we understand the whole picture. Our reading and committee processes are extensive and dedicated to ensuring that we get to know each and every applicant. In short, we care about getting to know you and will read every part of your application multiple times. We are thoughtful and intentional about every decision we make! 

 

Your admissions counselor wants to get to know you! 

One thing I wish I would have taken advantage of as an applicant is getting to know my regional admissions counselor. As an admissions counselor I love connecting with students and answering their questions! Your admissions counselor is incredibly knowledgeable and can serve as a great resource to you at any point in the admissions process. Please do not be shy about connecting with your counselor! 

 

Engagement matters 

At Holy Cross we value demonstrated interest. We appreciate it when applicants have engaged with us in some way shape or form during the admissions process. Engagement can mean attending a virtual tour and information session, or sending an admissions counselor an email! Engagement opportunities are not only ways for you to demonstrate interest, but they are also avenues to learn more about the College of the Holy Cross. I encourage you all to take advantage of every opportunity to learn more about Holy Cross. It  is important to research every school you apply to! You should gather all the necessary information you need to ensure you are applying to schools that are a fit for you! 

I hope this information is helpful to you as you navigate through the admissions process! I wish you the best, and encourage you to enjoy every step of the process!

 

Best,  

Alyssa Martinez | Assistant Director of Admission

Montserrat

 

Looking back at my first year as a student at Holy Cross, I credit much of my amazing experience to the Montserrat program. From my incredible professor to my peers that would quickly become my friends, Montserrat served as reassurance that Holy Cross was where I wanted to be.

Last year, I was lucky enough to have been placed into Professor Ryan’s seminar in the Divine cluster, called “Identity, Diversity and Community.” My classmates all lived in the same dorm as me, so it was a relief to be able to meet other students right away and see familiar faces around campus. A majority of my current friend group came to be through our Montserrat, since the class size is small, which allowed us all to easily get to know one another. I also had the opportunity to get to know my professor, and between a whole year of being her student and attending office hours, I was able to form a strong bond with her that made my adjustment to college all the more comfortable. My Montserrat seminar also included what is called a Community Based Learning component, an opportunity in numerous Montserrat seminars that allows first year students to volunteer in the city of Worcester. Through my CBL, I had the chance to volunteer with a kindergarten class at a local elementary school, which was such a fun experience. Not only did we get to engage with Worcester, but we also reflected on our volunteer experiences which changed my perspective of community service for the better.

The Montserrat program offers six different clusters to first year students, each cluster having various seminars. These classes all provide unique experiences for students with an abundance of benefits. Each class lasts for the entire first year with each semester focusing on a different theme. For the most part, these classes are also taught by the same professor. The consistency in schedule, classmates, and professors allows students to become comfortable on campus through academic and social aspects. The welcoming atmosphere established by Montserrat ensures a smooth transition to college life for first year students as well as the opportunity to bond with faculty members, which may be intimidating to most upon entering college. Having a class limited to only first years as well as students that live in the same dorm buildings is also vital for contributing to this atmosphere and strengthening social connections among peers. The seminars themselves also offer great benefits for students. The material taught enables students to expand beyond standard curriculum and learn about topics that would not be otherwise covered. For example, my two seminar themes were “Exploring Difference” and “Modifying Technology” in which I was able to learn about disabilities in society as well as ethics of genetic engineering. Both of these themes offer curriculum outside of core subjects, which offered a unique perspective on worldly concerns that could be carried on throughout the college experience. The seminars consist of real-world applications that not only contribute to the well-roundedness of a liberal arts student, but also change how first years see the community around them.

Community is a substantial component of the Montserrat program. The CBL opportunities offered by some seminars reinforces the aspect of community between Holy Cross students and the citizens of Worcester. Many students choose to continue their volunteer work with their community partner throughout their Holy Cross careers from having a positive experience through Montserrat. The program also establishes a sense of community on campus through cluster events. These events include performances, presentations, or activities relevant to the theme of the entire cluster that students attend. Cluster events bring together all students of various seminars under that one cluster, allowing students to meet many more peers that they are also living with. This unifies first year students in a way that they become a community on campus, furthering the comfortable and welcoming atmosphere the Montserrat program strives to achieve.

The Montserrat program here at Holy Cross aims to introduce first year students to life as a college student and serves as a unique component of the school. I, along with many other Holy Cross students, am the student I am today academically and socially because of the foundations built by Montserrat.

~Lindsay R. ’23

 

Applying to College During a Pandemic

The latin phrase virtute et numine is the inspiration for the phrase “by grit and grace.”  I am reminded of that sentiment because a few weeks ago, we passed the six month mark – 180 days since my co-workers and I left the Office of Admission and started working remotely and Holy Cross students left campus and started remote learning.  On an almost daily basis, we are challenged in ways that we never expected and for which we could not prepare.  

Over these six months, in conversations over Zoom with high school students, we in the Admission Office have been hearing stories of canceled standardized test dates, the challenges of remote, hybrid and in-person learning and all of the resulting stress and anxiety that has been added to the college application process.  We are simultaneously inspired by these students’ stories of perseverance and saddened by the heightened anxiety that they are experiencing.  In response, we have created the following website and video to help address the most common questions and concerns about applying to college during this unforeseen pandemic.

We will get through the next six months the same way we got through the last six months – by demonstrating compassion for each other, and, most of all, by grit and grace.

 

~Andrew Carter

Sr. Associate Director of Admission

 

Junior Year During COVID-19

Hi everyone! My name is Michaela Lake, and I am a junior Psychology major at the College working as a Social Media intern in the Admissions Office this year. I am from Fair Haven, New Jersey, where I will be attending my classes virtually this semester. This fall is different from what I had imagined, but I am looking forward to what this semester has to offer.

As I begin my online classes, I have reflected a lot on what the transition to online was like in the spring compared to now. The transition from in-person class to online classes last year was an abrupt and difficult adjustment, with many bumps in the road as we as a community completely changed the way in which we learn and interact with one another. Holy Cross gave students and professors one week without class to adjust syllabi, become familiar with programs like Zoom and Google Meet, and in general get used to teaching and learning from our homes. This transition was done in a way my friends and I have called “organized chaos,” as we had to adjust each step of the way as the world around us changed. Now, as I attend classes in a fully virtual format this semester, this transition is less daunting than last year, as I do have some Zoom experience under my belt heading into my third year on the Hill. My professors have prepared syllabi knowing we would be remote for the entirety of the semester, barring any interruptions, like what happened last March. This semester is unlike any other academic year I have ever experienced, but is one that I feel more prepared for than I initially thought.

Being a college student during this time is challenging, frustrating, and at times isolating. College students are in a unique position within the new COVID world, as expectations for the school year are evolving everyday nationwide, and there is a strong feeling of uncertainty within each day, regardless if students are on-campus or in dispersion, like Holy Cross. Now more than ever, I feel being a college student requires flexibility and adaptability, as well as the ability to pivot at a moment’s notice. I have come to realize that being a COVID college student requires a “expect the unexpected” mindset, focusing more on the short-term rather than the long-term. However, in spite of the challenges that arise from being a college student during the COVID crisis, I do feel that I have grown academically and I gained valuable life skills. I feel that college students as a whole have been able to persevere through the tough times and unpredictability of today’s world in creative and innovative ways to make the most of their experiences both socially and academically.

I have a newfound appreciation and gratitude for my Holy Cross community in this time away from campus and in dispersion from my classmates and friends. The College has worked to continue offering extracurricular opportunities to students, as well as maintain a sense of unity and normalcy in what can only be classified as abnormal times. My friends and I still read The Spire, the College paper, each Friday as it continues to put out virtual editions each week. Currently, I am serving as a SPUD Community Organizer, and my team and I have been able to find new ways to engage in my weekly service in Worcester through SPUD in the remote setting. I got to participate in the Communitas Retreat run through the Chaplains’ Office last spring (the first virtual retreat put on by the office) and maintain my connections with the Chaplains in this time apart. This summer, I also got to co-lead a small group as part of the Horizons Retreat for the Class of 2024, also organized by the Chaplains’ Office, to welcome the incoming freshman class in a way the College has never done before. Getting to keep my extracurricular involvement in Holy Cross without being physically on campus is something that has reminded me how strong the HC community is, regardless if we are together on campus or spread across the country. These resources provided by the College have supported me and helped me feel like a true Holy Cross student, even as I attend classes from my bedroom. 

This year, I am looking forward to working with the Admissions Office to create social media content for the Class of 2025, as social media has a newfound importance in the COVID world. I am also looking forward to working as a SPUD Community Organizer to help recruit and connect students to service in Worcester, even if they may not physically be in the city or on campus. I am also looking forward to becoming part of the Soul Squad groups, offered by the Chaplains’ Office so I can connect with other Holy Cross students in moments of reflection. Although this time is incredibly difficult, I look forward to strengthening my connections with the Holy Cross community.

~Michaela Lake ’22

Unplug, Unwind, and Discern

Olivia Hastie ’22

 

One of the many life-giving experiences at Holy Cross is the Spiritual Exercises Retreat. Students from all faith backgrounds and communities sign up to partake in this experience because it offers a peaceful environment to rest and reflect.   A brief description of the Exercises as written on the Holy Cross Retreats webpage

What do you desire? What is God inviting you to? How do you integrate your faith with decisions you make in your life? What are the movements of your heart? Do you desire freedom and inner peace? An adapted version of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, this five-day silent retreat is an opportunity for reflection and prayer. In silence, you will be given the opportunity to reflect more deeply about your faith, the power of God’s love for you and your relationship to others. In addition, time for personal prayer and reflection and liturgies, thematic talks are given by the Chaplain retreat directors to help assist in your faith journey.”

This five day silent retreat offers students an opportunity to unplug, unwind, and discern where their Holy Cross education is taking them. As a sophomore making lots of decisions like where to study abroad, what to major in, and where my Holy Cross education is taking me, I thought fall break would be the perfect time to attend. I had also never been to the Thomas P. Joyce ‘59 Contemplative Center  and was feeling a little bit left out of that part of my Holy Cross experience. I’m so glad I ended up deciding to participate. 

I knew a little bit about the Exercises from classes I had taken and my general knowledge of the Jesuits. Though challenging, the silence was a beautiful way to experience discernment and contemplation. I’ll also add that throughout the five days, each day contains four sessions where you hear and learn about the actual exercises of Ignatius. Each day participants also have the chance to meet with a Spiritual Director to talk about where he or she is in her faith journey and what he or she is looking to accomplish on the retreat. Realistically it’s not complete silence. There’s also lots of individual activities, like painting, hiking, and playing instruments.

The retreat also takes you through the Jesuit concept of finding and knowing God. Over the course of the five days, I experienced several moments where my vision of God changed. Instead of seeing God as a higher power, I started to see God as a friend walking with me through life. This is one of the many revelations I experienced on retreat. Other people go on the retreat to begin their relationship with God, and others go to be still. It was particularly moving to watch the sunrise each morning and remind myself that there is something greater than I out there. The experience was overwhelming life giving, reminding me to take time to be still and be reflective.

Overall, it was an exceptionally moving experience. Students from any faith background can have a moving experience of the exercises. Spending five days unplugged and silent helped me not only grow in faith but grow in my own self-knowledge. I took time to think about what the future may hold and how I want to spend my next two years at Holy Cross. I’m looking forward to hopefully going again senior year and using the time to pray and think about my own life in a different way.

The Allegory of Committee

 

Much like the people depicted in Plato’s Republic, my colleagues and I have recently spent a great deal of time in a dark space looking straight ahead. However, while the protagonist in the “Allegory of the Cave” is forced to grapple with the meaning of shadows, statues, fire, and sunlight, the Holy Cross admission staff has pondered over academic rigor, personal statements, interview notes, and letters of recommendation. Having just completed our admission committee process for the Class of 2023, it feels like the right time to reflect on our work and the work of our applicants…through a liberal arts lens, of course.

While Plato’s cavemen and cavewomen view the shadows on the wall as their one true reality, Holy Cross’ admission counselors never lose sight of the fact that our applicants are more than what can be seen on our projector screens. Through interviews, essays, recommendations, and conversations, we strive to know each applicant on a personal level so that we can fully understand and evaluate the essence of every individual.

I can’t tell you how happy we are to walk out of our cave committee room and interact with the Holy Cross Class of 2023 during Admitted Student Day in April. We are thrilled to watch new students join us for summer orientations and to see the impact that each new Crusader will have on our campus over the next four years. Like Plato’s philosopher who is initially blinded by the sun, first days on the Hill will be marked by adjustment and awakening. Fortunately, the education that you will receive and the experiences that you will have atop Mount Saint James will ultimately transform you and point you towards the Form of the Good in life.

 

-Tom McHugh

Dining at HC

I remember looking at colleges and constantly asking what the food was like on each campus. I imagine that many prospective students share that curiosity. Holy Cross has many on-campus dining options for students to enjoy while they hang out with friends, study, or meet with professors. There’s coffee, burgers, home-style cooking and more. The meal plan per semester for most students is as follows: students receive an unlimited amount of meal swipes per semester to the Kimball Main Dining Room, eight meal swipes per week in Lower Kimball , and $425 dining dollars that can be used at Cool Beans, Cafe Babel, D’Agostino Cafe, Crossroads, The Pub, and the Lobby Shop.

 

The main dining room is located at the bottom of campus in Kimball Hall. The Kimball main dining room has a plethora of options. At breakfast, there is an omelette station where students can create their own omelette, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, or egg sandwiches, with various breakfast sides. At lunch the omelette bar turns over to a stir fry station where students can create a stir fry bowl, the sandwich bar opens up (that’s my favorite, try a spinach wrap with chicken salad, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle mayo), the burger bar is stocked with plenty of toppings, and the classics station offers a hot meal prepared by the dining staff. Lunch and dinner stations are basically the same, however, the classics station changes.

 

A hot meal at the classics station in Kimball could be anything like roasted chicken, short ribs, or Mexican pulled pork for tacos. Students would all agree that the best meal in Kimball is chicken parmesan. Chicken parm night happens roughly once a month and almost the entire student body waits in line for this highly anticipated meal. Other events that students attend consistently are holiday themed meals. Most recently, we celebrated Thanksgiving in the main dining room with a full turkey dinner- stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pie. Kimball is an all-you-can- eat dining experience that only cost students one meal swipe. Another favored option in Kimball is the mac and cheese. It is out of this world and everyone finds time to get there when they see it on the menu. You can check the dining menus for every location online to decide where you want to go for each meal.

 

Another dining option on campus is the Lower Kimball Food Court which is considered  more of a lunch spot. Students can choose from Habaneros- a Mexican food place (the Chalupa bowls are amazing), Villa Prima- the pizza place, The Grill for hamburgers and hot dogs, or the Deli for delicious sandwiches. Check lower Kimball out on Wednesdays because they have grilled cheese sandwiches made with garlic bread and creamy tomato soup. I go to Lower Kimball for grilled cheese every week because it’s my absolute favorite lunch of all time.

 

We also have places like Crossroads and the Pub which are both located in the Hogan Campus Center on the bottom floor. The Pub makes delightful salads, sandwiches, and wraps. Additionally, Holy Cross is not a dry campus so the pub turns into a bar on Tuesday nights for those students who are 21 and older. I recommend the chicken caesar salad from the Pub, but you can also build your own salad as well with anything you want in it. Crossroads feeds everybody’s late night cravings. They have chicken fingers, fries, mozzarella sticks, and mac and cheese bites. The mac and cheese bites are so good, especially after a long night of studying.

 

Campus also has two coffee shops: Cool Beans on the first floor of Hogan and Cafe Babel located in the Stein academic building. I order a coffee from Cool Beans every morning, but I also love to get their breakfast sandwiches. You can order any breakfast sandwich on any type of bagel. In addition to coffee and breakfast sandwiches, you can get smoothies at both locations. During the holiday seasons they have specialty drinks including pumpkin spiced lattes in the fall and peppermint hot chocolate before Christmas. At night, Cool Beans also becomes an ice cream bar where you can order milkshakes.

 

The last place for dining is the newest: the D’Agostino Cafe located in our Integrated Science Complex. This is a student favorite for lunch. They have soups, sandwiches, and salads all of which have received positive reviews from students. It’s expensive so save your dining dollars. Try to go even if you don’t have any classes in the science building, it’s totally worth it. I’m a theatre major who will probably never have a class in the Science Complex and I try to go there as often as possible because it’s that good. No matter where you eat on campus the food is delightful.

 

-Olivia Hastie ’22

Fall Traditions at Holy Cross

 

New England is known for its amazing fall foliage and crisp autumn weather…and Holy Cross certainly enjoys its fair share of autumn color. HC is beautiful all year round, but campus is particularly stunning in October and November. Travel + Leisure named us the most beautiful college in MA for a reason! Fall is personally my favorite season at Holy Cross, not just for the beautiful scenery, but also for the many events that happen on Mount Saint James during the semester. While the ivy on the side of Holy Cross’ brick buildings turns orange, red, and yellow as the seasons change, our campus is set ablaze as well. Among the festivities are tailgates and football games, Family Weekend, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and of course all of the fall-themed activities that you can do off-campus such as apple picking.

 

Tailgate and football season is one of the fall activities that Holy Cross students and alumni look forward to most. It’s a blast to spend time with friends and family over food and drinks and then go and cheer on the HC Football team at Fitton Field. Many parents and alumni show their Crusader pride at every single game, bleeding purple and showing their love and support for Holy Cross. With football season also comes fall homecoming weekend, when even more alumni return to campus to show their enthusiasm and support for alma mater. They come to spend time with their fellow alumni as well as with their children who go to Holy Cross now! Family weekend is also a great opportunity for families to spend time with their their HC student’s friends and vice versa! I love getting to know my friends’ families better and I look forward to having them on campus. It doesn’t hurt that they usually take us out to dinner on Shrewsbury Street too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween is of course another well-known fall event that people get excited about around campus. Just because we are too old to trick-or-treat, doesn’t mean that dressing up with your friends isn’t still a lot of fun! Creating and putting together fun group costumes is exciting and something that I definitely look forward to as the end of October nears!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as Halloween is behind us, we quickly turn our sights to Thanksgiving. Kimball, our dining hall, annually serves a Thanksgiving dinner before break begins, so if you love Thanksgiving food, you’re in luck! Not only will you get to eat a delicious food at home over the holiday, you’ll also get to have turkey and sides at Kimball as well. The menu includes turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, squash, pies, apple cider, and pretty much every traditional Thanksgiving food that you can imagine! Cool Beans and the D’Agostino Cafe also embrace the fall spirit by adding pumpkin flavored coffee drinks to the menu and offering options like hot apple cider!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple picking and pumpkin picking are fun activities to do with your friends on a fall day if you’re looking to go off campus. My friends and I went apple picking at Tougas Family Farm earlier this month and it was so much fun…they even had scrumptious apple cider donuts, warm cider, caramel apples, and plenty of other fall treats at the farm stand. No matter what part of fall you love most, there is definitely something for you to enjoy at Holy Cross!