Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions

 

Growing up with food allergies, I always was focused on eating as many home cooked meals as possible. I brought my lunch to school every day, and knew whatever my Mom had made for me would be safe to eat. Knowing I couldn’t take that with me to college, I was definitely a little scared to see what it would be like navigating food allergies in college. 

Fortunately for me, Holy Cross has one of the most student-friendly and well-run food allergy programs in the world. Right from being accepted to the school, I was able to work with school dietitians, the Office of Accessibility Services, and Holy Cross Dining to make sure I had the necessary accommodations so that my food allergies wouldn’t inhibit my college experience. At Holy Cross, students with food allergies are able to order “a la carte” what they would like to eat the next day, and when they would like to pick it up. With both takeout and dine in options for me at Kimball Dining Hall, my food allergies have never been easier to manage. 

The team of chefs Holy Cross dining employed to make meals tailored to my dietary needs constantly went above and beyond to make sure that I not only had safe food to eat, but also I had the best tasting food on campus. I cannot thank them enough for how much they’ve done for me over these last four years. 

 

James Neville ’20

James is a senior Political Science major with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies from New Canaan, Connecticut. On campus, he’s part of the Admission Office as a tour guide and senior interviewer, the co-chair for Pax Christi, and Holy Cross Rock Climbing Club. He participated in the Washington DC semester and interned at the State Department within the Office of Russian Affairs. He also participated in the Moscow Maymester program, interned at Save the Children, and is a member of the National Political Science Honors Society. After graduation, James is working at Heidrick and Struggles. 

Choosing a Major

 

Hi everyone! My name is Michaela Lake, I am a sophomore Psychology major at the College, working as a Social Media Intern for the Admissions Office.  I have noticed through talking to prospective students and parents, and working our Open House, that a lot of students are curious about the process of declaring a major, and what exactly that process looks like here at Holy Cross. I know personally that choosing a major can be stressful, and looks different from college to college, so I thought I would share more of what the process looks like here.

All first-year students come into Holy Cross their first semester undeclared. This allows students to explore different academic disciplines across departments, helping solidify an academic interest, ultimately helping plan the next three years at the College. Personally, I found this to be very beneficial to my academic track, and relieved some of my stress about my first year. Coming in undeclared allowed me to feel less pressure and constraint on what I could study, and allowed me to take a variety of classes across my different interests. In my first semester on the Hill, I was able to take an Education course, as well as a Political Science class, and get a better sense of what I was passionate about, and what classes and academic track that would fit my passion. Even though coming in undeclared can seem overwhelming, it is actually a really nice benefit for first year students, not having to stay on one track from the onset of their first semester through graduation.

At the beginning of their first semester, first-year students consult and meet their first-year advisors. First-year advisors are an awesome resource for students, especially when it comes to deciding a major; they are here to get to know you and your interests, and are there to help facilitate your academic track. Advisors check in throughout the semester, and are available to answer any questions or concerns about classes, alleviate any stress, and talk to students about their interests. First-year advisors can direct students’ questions to other departments if they are unsure of an answer themselves, and can recommend what classes to take or professors to talk to going forward at Holy Cross. I can safely say my first-year advisor was a great resource for me, answering my questions about different classes and programs, and made me feel confident going forward in my academic track at Holy Cross.

Classes first semester of freshman year are a great way to guide any sort of interest a student would have. A part of why I personally chose Holy Cross was the liberal arts education, something that gave me the most academic freedom. As I wrote earlier, I took a variety of classes my freshman year, and this was a great way for me to decide on my academic track at Holy Cross. Part of the beauty of the Liberal Arts curriculum is that students can take a variety of courses while also fulfilling course requirements for graduation. Taking a breadth of courses across disciplines, especially in a student’s first year, satisfies the requirements of our liberal arts curriculum, while also providing the opportunity to explore what exactly they want to major in.

Going to college allows for students to pursue their academic interests with more freedom for the first time, something that can seem overwhelming. 

My advice to incoming students at Holy Cross is to take introductory-level courses that spark your interest. For example, if you are considering majoring in Economics, take a 100-level course and get a sense of what an academic track as an Economics major would like. Loved your French class in high school? Take a French class! Enroll in classes that spark your interest, and this will help facilitate a sense of what you would like to take going into the rest of your experience at Holy Cross. 

The best advice I could give to prospective and incoming students regarding selecting a major is do not feel like there is a rush to declare. Students at Holy Cross can declare as early as their second semester freshman year, and can change their major at any point through the end of their second semester of their sophomore year. The best thing students can do to solidify what major they should pursue is to take their time, explore any possible interests, communicate with their advisors, and keep an open mind heading into their college experience. Enjoy your academic freedom, and an academic track will become clear!

 

Michaela Lake ’22

Spring Break Immersion Program

 

Holy Cross as a Jesuit school teaches the message of becoming men and women for and with others, emphasizing the importance of service. While Holy Cross offers plenty of opportunities to conduct service on campus and in the city of Worcester, an opportunity unique to the school is the chance to travel over spring break to another part of the country, serving a community beyond just Mount St. James. 

Every year, the Chaplains’ Office organizes the Spring Break Immersion Program, or SBIP, an opportunity for students to travel to serve different communities across the country, ranging in sites from Kentucky, Alabama, to Colorado. The purpose of these trips is to conduct direct service and foster connections with other communities,  immersing yourself in a life different than your own. Every year, around 250 students travel in student-led groups, working in churches, schools, community centers, soup kitchens and different community landmarks across the different sites. 

Last March, I got to travel to Narrows, VA through SBIP (fun fact-Dirty Dancing was filmed there!). I was the only freshman in my group, travelling with nine other students to serve the town of Narrows. Although this trip was daunting, as I was the only first-year in my group travelling with people I had never met before, this wound up being the most rewarding and affirming experience of my first year at Holy Cross.

During my trip, my group and I stayed at the Narrows Parks and Recreation Center, and worked at different sites in town. Each day was different, and each of us were able to work in a variety of service activities. We worked with the librarian in the town public library, helping renovate the library, rearranging and reconstructing shelves, organizing the books and reordering the books on the shelves under a new system of organization. We also got to work with town municipal workers, building park benches and trash can holders to be used throughout the town park grounds. Since Narrows is located in the Appalachian region, we were able to hike some of the trails and help clear debris with a local guide, making sure trails were safe for tourists. Through my service, I got to do things I never thought that I would have the chance to do, and got to become immersed in a beautiful town I never would have travelled to if it had not been for SBIP.

My group and I also had the chance to get to know the community beyond our service. Every night, different churches would host potluck dinners, serving delicious homemade food. We would eat with community members, and they were so kind and eager to get to know us. I still keep in touch with some members through social media, and will cherish the connections I made there outside of the service for the rest of my Holy Cross experience. The town not only fed us, but entertained us as well. Every night we were invited to a town event to further immerse us within the community. My group and I got to go to a Haunted House organized by the town, did karaoke, and we even went to a performance by a local lawyer who also worked as a children’s party entertainer as a magician and balloon animal artist. My experience was something I will never forget, fostering these unique connections with a community that was so generous and kind, shaping my experience beyond just the service aspect of the trip. 

These connections with other communities are as important as the ones you make with other Holy Cross students. You form a strong connection with other students you may not have met outside of SBIP, bonding with one another through this experience in a way that is different to other connections you make on campus. Every night, to conclude your day, you reflect upon the day’s work and experience with your group members, making sure you get the most out of every aspect of your trip, deepening your bond with your group members. This bond does not exist solely during the trip, but gets carried back to campus. I still stay in frequent contact with my group, despite three of our members having graduated, and some members currently studying abroad.

Spring Break Immersion is something unique to Holy Cross, and oftentimes can be overlooked by students. It is an opportunity not many schools offer, and is something that many students identify as a Holy Cross Bucket List experience. I can say with complete confidence that this experience was the best experience I have had at Holy Cross thus far, deepening my commitment to the school and to service. 

 

Michaela Lake ’22

Get Involved!

One of the biggest questions prospective students and parents ask when coming to Holy Cross for the first time is “what do Holy Cross students do for fun around campus?” While Holy Cross is an academically rigorous school, students still have plenty of opportunities to engage in activities non-study related, and make the most of their spare time here on campus. 

Some students coming into Holy Cross are coming in as athletes who still want to continue to play their sport, just not at the varsity level. Getting involved with Club or Intramural sports is a great way many students get acclimated to campus, as well as meet other students. At the beginning of each academic year, students receive emails from Campus Recreation detailing tryouts and meetings for different club sports, and meeting times to sign up for Intramural sports. Intramural sports run every quarter, with teams ranging from dodgeball to flag football. Students can form a team themselves and compete once a week in an on-campus league. Holy Cross also offers a variety of different Club sports, ranging from Club Equestrian to Club Soccer. Club sports practice two-three times per week for one-two hours, with occasional games on the weekends. I am a member of the Club Field Hockey team here at the College, and I find this to be a totally manageable and fun commitment. Joining Club Field Hockey helped introduce me to other people on campus I would not have met before joining, helping me make some of my current friends, and gave me the opportunity to continue to play the sport I love beyond high school. 

Holy Cross also has opportunities for students to continue to pursue their musical interests as well. There are many different a capella groups students can audition for, or students can join the different choirs at the College as a way to get involved as well. Holy Cross has an orchestra, a pep band, a marching band, and a jazz band students can join to continue practicing their instruments, and evolve their musical abilities. Music groups on campus perform for the student body with a cappella performances in the Student Center on weeknights, and performances throughout the year by our college bands and choirs. Students can also get involved with our campus radio station, WCHC 88.1 FM and host their own radio show, channeling their interest in music with a personalized radio show.

Beyond athletic and musical interests, Holy Cross has plenty of clubs where students can grow their interests. There are political groups on campus, Mock Trial and mock court organizations, service organizations on campus like SPUD,SGA senate, dance teams, theatre groups, and religious groups, like Pax Christi and bible study opportunities for students who wish to explore their religious interests. Students at Holy Cross have plenty of opportunities to explore any interests they may have, allocating time for non-work related activities that help them meet new people, and get more involved in the campus community. I have found that extracurriculars and clubs on campus have helped me branch out and become more deeply invested in my Holy Cross community and experience, helping me transition and succeed at the College.

 

~ Michaela Lake ’22

ED Admitted: Next Steps

     There is nothing better than knowing where you are going to college early-on in your senior year of high school. I applied ED to Holy Cross because I knew there was no other place for me. I loved everything about this school from the people to the buildings and even the hills. ED was a big commitment and I remember hitting send on the application was daunting. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I’m incredibly happy that I applied ED, because I truly had time to anticipate the next part of my life and the changes ahead. The transition to Holy Cross is challenging and takes much preparation. Here are some of my personal tips and tricks to maximize college readiness before you begin your time on the Hill.

  1. Don’t slack off with your school work now that you’ve gotten into and committed to a college. The Holy Cross Admission team asserts that your acceptance is secured by maintaining good grades. For many of my ED friends, the transition to Holy Cross was much harder because of the fact that they really hadn’t studied for anything since the fall of senior year. Classes here hit the ground running as soon as you arrive so be sure to continue to practice good study habits so they are fresh when you get here. Also, finish strong! If you were accepted to Holy Cross, you are a phenomenal student. Don’t stop now. Classes are challenging but manageable and professors are incredibly supportive and helpful.
  2. Connect with your classmates via the Facebook group and Instagram. I met my best friend here through Instagram and I’m so happy I did. Don’t be afraid to DM each other, and if you live in the same area grab coffee and get to know each other. The transition into college is much easier when you already have a community of people you know. It also makes events like Summer Gateways Orientation extremely fun because you get to experience everything with a group.
  3. College is not at all like  high school. The biggest lesson I’ve learned since arriving at Holy Cross is the fact that college is very different from high school. You no longer have parents telling you to wake up and get ready, meal times are when you want them, and you have more freedom and autonomy over your schedule. These differences become apparent as soon as your parents leave you on move-in day. Over time, I’ve discovered other differences that helped me grow more comfortable. College students are generally more mature. You never have to feel nervous about asking a stranger if you can sit with them in Kimball Dining Hall.
  4. Everybody is in the same boat. Walking in as a first-year student is really hard especially during orientation. My orientation group was awesome and I still talk to all the students, but we also ended up forming friendships outside of the group. I wish I had known early on that so many people feel that way going through the orientation process. It’s important to know finding your best friends doesn’t happen overnight. It took me a really long time to solidify my friendships here and even part of the way into the second semester I feel like I’m still making friends. It takes time so don’t sweat it, because you are not alone. Just get involved on campus and you’ll find your community, that’s how I did it.
  5. Branch out. That said, don’t confine yourself to one group of people. Eat meals with people in your classes, in your clubs, or on your floor. Be sure to introduce yourself to people. Holy Cross is a small campus full of friendly people who are here to make friends and get to know you.. There is nothing better than sitting in the Hogan Campus Center and having many different people say hello to you. Sometimes it can be distracting but it’s really telling of the community built here.
  6. Try and visit (again). If you know anyone currently studying at Holy Cross, contact them and try to come and visit. Get to know the campus more. I’ve been visiting Holy Cross since I was little, but for the people who don’t know the campus as well, visit a bunch of times. It’s extremely helpful to get an understanding of campus before you arrive.

We are so excited for the Class of 2023 to join us here on the Hill. Spring semester is here in full swing and there are so many wonderful adventures to embark on here at Holy Cross. Stay focused on the rest of senior year and look forward to the next four years at Holy Cross.

 

-Olivia H. ’22

Music at Holy Cross

 

Are you interest in music at Holy Cross? Then look no further, this blog is for you!

 

My name is Kyle Irvine, and I’m writing alongside another student at the college, Joanna Aramini. I am a sophomore Economics and Music double major with a minor in Italian, and I am involved in the College Choir and Chamber Singers through the Department of Music and music ministry through the Office of the College Chaplains. Joanna is a senior Art History and Sociology double major who has been involved with music all of her time at Holy Cross. She first joined the College Choir, and has since taken many music courses simply out of interest!  Our blog is intended to make prospective students more aware of all the amazing music opportunities offered at Holy Cross, and to give some current student perspective. Happy reading! 🙂

Rooted in the liberal arts tradition, music is an integral part of life at Holy Cross for many students, regardless of course of study or musical experience. As a universal form of expression, music transcends the boundaries of culture and time, and Holy Cross provides an opportunity for students to engage with music and the arts, offering a wide array of courses rooted in the Western, jazz, world, and popular traditions. As a department that offers a rigorous academic program to majors, courses that span thousands of years of music history and social issues to non-majors, and a diverse array of ensembles open to all, several hundred students are attracted to the Department of Music each semester!

Music courses explore history, theory, technology, and performance and all foster an interconnected environment of teacher-student interaction and collaboration both inside and outside of the classroom. The music department has 12 faculty members in musicology, composition, and performance, two artists-in-residence, and many private instrumental instructs, all who offer performance and research opportunities to students as well!

Department sponsored ensembles range from the Chamber Orchestra and College Choir to the Balinese Gamelan ensemble and the Holy Cross Laptop Ensemble Federation (H-CLEF). Outside of the department, there are four a cappella groups, a songwriting club, the Chapel Choir through the Office of the College Chaplains, and more! And what’s better than all of these opportunities? The fact that you don’t have to be a music major to participate in them. In fact, the majority of students involved in these ensembles are not music majors and do not have to audition!

Now that you’re aware of the greatness of the Holy Cross Music Department, don’t take our word for it! Check out what other students involved with music have to say about our programs:

 

“Holy Cross is unique among most Catholic colleges and most small liberal arts colleges of its kind in the fact that is offers a Music Major.  I wanted to attend a school with a strong Catholic identity and reputation for academic excellence, but I didn’t want to sacrifice my interest in music.  At Holy Cross I haven’t needed to compromise any of my interests.” -Rose Grosskopf ‘20, Music and English double major

 

“As a music major, Holy Cross has become my home mostly due to the Music Department.  While meeting new people in your first year of college is hard, I made friends with my fellow ensemble members right away, and they have remained some of my closest friends to this day.  Since the community at Holy Cross is so tight-knit, I am able to interact with members of the choir throughout my day in classes, the dining hall, and even just walking around campus, and always being able to say hi to friends as I walk from class to class is one of my favorite parts about this school.  I also have grown musically through my time in musical ensembles at this school, and I have more confidence in my musical abilities after even just a year at this school.” -Meghan O’Keefe ‘21, Music and Psychology double major

 

“The community of performers that I’ve had the privilege of getting to know are some of the kindest and most dedicated individuals that I have ever met.  Not only are they focused, driven to excellence, and extremely talented, everywhere you go there is a spirit of generosity and gratitude.  This kind of commitment to the music and to one another helps every musician, actor, and scholar here to excel.  Our community and our art draws us together, and it helps us all strive to be the best we can be. I think that’s why we succeed, and create the art that we do: we shine for the sake of our own musical growth, and just as much to lift up the entire ensemble.” -Sadie O’Conor ‘22, undeclared

 

“The wide variety, whether you are an instrumentalist, vocalist, or just interested in the theory behind it.  You can explore so many different styles and mediums.” -Christina Dressel ‘20, Biology and Spanish double major

 

“Music programs at Holy Cross provide freshmen with an easy way to get involved on campus and in the greater community of Worcester.  Each semester brings with it new repertoire and a series of performances for new audiences.  Often times, we have the opportunity to collaborate with other groups on campus.  For instance, the College Choir performed a beautiful piece with Concert Band last semester, which was a new experience for many of the younger students, especially.” -Theresa Gervais ‘20, Spanish major

 

“I think the best thing about the music programs offered at Holy Cross is that they are filled with students from so many different backgrounds and academic disciplines.  Music students do not just stick to music students here.  The diversity among the students in music programs is really wonderful because it allows for so many different opinions and views to be represented in music and throughout campus.  Students who participate in music programs are extremely well rounded and absolutely love what they do!  I also really love how supportive everyone is of the students in music programs; there are always other students, professors, and faculty who support these students by coming to concerts and other performances.  Whether you are involved in music or not on campus, it is something that brings many people together in ways that other disciplines cannot.” -Joanna Aramini ‘19, Art History and Sociology double major

 

“I think the best thing offered about music programs at Holy Cross is the sheer amount of talent that is present in our school.  With programs such as the Brooks Scholarship and Organ Scholarship, incredibly gifted people populate the groups.” -Jacob Fisher ‘21, International Studies and German double major

 

Music at Holy Cross does not just lie in performance opportunities, but reaches out into the entire student body and further out into our community.  Under the direction of Prof. Allegra Martin over the last year and a half, the College Choir and Chamber Singers have had ample opportunity for collaboration with our wider campus community.  Recently, the Holy Cross College Choir provided the music for the liturgy of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrating the 175th anniversary of the College, in addition to providing music for the Mass of the Holy Spirit each year, welcoming first-year students to the Hill.  Last year with the Office of Arts Transcending Borders, the Chamber Singers had the opportunity to work with Theatre of War Productions and the Phil Woodmore Singers to perform a piece called Antigone in Ferguson, which draws parallels between the Sophocles tragedy and the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.  This fall, the Chamber Singers performed David Lang’s Pulitzer Prize-winning composition the little match girl passion alongside Maine-based Figures of Speech Theatre with Arts Transcending Borders.

This collaboration does not stop on the Hill. The College Choir combined forces with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Women’s Alden Voices and Men’s Glee Club for a choral collaboration concert, showcasing both ensembles before combining to close the performance.  Students were able to meet and work with talented singers from WPI, an invaluable experience. Check out what some of our students had to say about our recent collaboration! (and check out the picture below of the two joint choirs!)

 

 

“As college students in Worcester, we are in a unique position in that there are so many other college students in the city that we can interact with at local events. This concert was a great way to bring students from two schools that share a love of music together, and I was excited to meet other Worcester students who have the same passion as I do.” -Meghan O’Keefe ‘21, Music and Psychology double major

 

“I am most excited to get out and perform in Worcester. I have many great opportunities to perform on campus, so I am excited to share what the College Choir has to offer with a different audience in the Worcester community.” Lauren Carey ‘19, Music major, Education minor

 

“This experience gave me a chance to get to know other students involved in music in Worcester.  Being able to collaborate with WPI was a great opportunity to make connections across schools and learn about what other students enjoy doing here in the city.” -Hannah Baker ‘21, Music and Sociology double major


No matter what students study at Holy Cross, they are able to find comfort in music if they so desire. Distinctive among nationally ranked liberal arts colleges, the Department of Music here at Holy Cross offers ample opportunity for all students to explore their love of music, whether it be inside or outside the classroom. In fact, Holy Cross plans to expand their music programs, with the creation of the new Center for the Arts and Creativity. This facility, to be built in upcoming years, will incorporate brand new concert halls, performances spaces, technology, and collaboration spaces for Holy Cross’s current and future art students– we are very excited for it!

We hope reading this blog provided some insight into the Department of Music and all of its greatness! Thanks for reading and happy music making!