The Catholic University of America

Aug. 27, 2015

New Students Welcomed to CUA 'Family'

  Student volunteers are seen with University President John Garvey, Jeanne Garvey, and their dog Gus during this year's move-in day.

The Catholic University of America welcomed nearly 1,000 first-year and transfer students to campus on the morning of Aug. 27, with the help of 80 student volunteers. The volunteers — each dressed in yellow shirts with the Catholic University alma mater on the back — took turns greeting families as they arrived, unloading cars, and carrying bedding, towels, suitcases, bicycles, and even guitars into the residence halls.

The purpose of the day, according to senior Brooke Paris, was to make the new students feel comfortable and at home as soon as possible.

“I think this shows (new students) what our community has to offer,” said Paris, who also serves as a student minister. “We are the first faces of Catholic University for them so I think it’s just a good way to show them the welcoming spirit that Campus Ministry and the University has to offer.”

That warm welcome certainly made an impression on freshman Craig Mundy and his mother Margaret, from Mooresville, N.C. One of the things that drew their family to CUA was how friendly everyone was when they came for a campus visit in the spring, said Margaret.

“This is pretty exciting,” Craig said, as he climbed the stairs to see his room in Flather Hall for the first time. “When we first toured the college, (move-in) was something they talked about, but I didn’t really expect it to be like this, so gung-ho.”

Down the hall, new roommates Jerry Santiago and Kyle Fiske were settling into their corner room. Santiago, a freshman from Puerto Rico, said he was most looking forward to experiencing a whole new culture in the United States and Washington, D.C.

“I’ve been in D.C. since Tuesday to see the city with my family,” he said. “I’m happy I’m going to get a better education than I could receive in Puerto Rico and a new cultural perspective than I could get at home.”

Student volunteers welcome new students by helping to move items into the residence halls.  

Downstairs in the Flather lobby, Kevin Nicolas, of Rockville, Md., was watching volunteers cart loads of belongings into the residence hall elevator. Though moving into the residence hall was “kind of surreal,” he said he was excited for what college life could offer. He plans on studying biology.

“I’m looking forward to exploring my interests,” he said. “Even though I know I have a path I’m interested in, I might look into other stuff to make myself more well-rounded.”

Elsewhere on campus, University President John Garvey and his wife, Jeanne, were speaking with freshman Elizabeth Montagnino and her family. Montagnino, who is from Severna Park, Md., plans on studying environmental chemistry and is looking forward to joining the Green Club.

“She’s very smart,” Garvey said to Montagnino’s mom.

“I think so,” her mother responded. “We’re a little biased,” added her father.

For Garvey and his wife, greeting the new CUA families at move-in is a tradition.

“It’s the most fun,” Garvey said. “The students who help with Orientation are so enthusiastic and the students who are coming are so apprehensive so it’s really fun to see them meet each other. It makes (the new students) feel right at home.”

“This is so typical of our students,” said Jeanne Garvey. “They’re so kind and helpful and enthusiastic. They’re special.”


Move-In Class of 2019 from CUA Video on Vimeo.

Upstairs in Ryan Hall, Michaela Sherman, of Oregon, and her mother were beginning to unpack her single room. Michaela said she chose CUA for its Catholic identity and its nursing program.

“It’s really exciting, it’s kind of like a whole new experience on the East Coast,” she said. “Since I got here, everyone’s been super friendly. I’m in a single room, but I met the girl next to me and she seems really friendly.”

For her mother Paula, the day was one of mixed emotions.

“This is exciting and sad,” she said, with tears in her eyes. “I hope she’ll make friends. I know she’ll succeed.”

Downstairs in front of Walton Hall, senior Carley Garttner, an accounting major from Garden City, N.Y., was helping even more families guide their cars to unloading zones.

“It gives me a sense of pride to be here helping them,” she said. “The students are just like I was, a little scared. But then when you see everyone surrounding your car and ready to help, you feel more welcome and more at ease and excited. It helps prove that we are a family here at CUA.”






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