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Freshmen arrive on campus

Marisa Iati | Friday, August 19, 2011

Vans loaded with boxes and furniture clogged campus entrances Friday morning, but the air buzzed with excitement as the freshmen class arrived at Notre Dame.

Freshmen Maggie McGonigle and Allie Anderson met for the first time as the roommates moved into their Lewis Hall room.

“I’m most excited about figuring out about why everyone is so excited when they hear that you go here,” Anderson said. “The fact that when you see someone from Notre Dame you want to go up and talk to them, why everyone loves the school so much. I just want to know when I’ll become like that.”

Anderson, a Sacramento, Calif. native, said although she does not have a family tie with the University, she really liked the feeling of community on campus.

“I went to a small [high] school, and it’s really nice knowing a lot of people,” Anderson said. “Everyone’s very family-orientated [here]. The football was a big part of it. I like spectator sports.”

McGonigle, from Minnetonka, Minn., said she chose Notre Dame because she liked the campus vibe and because several of her relatives were students here.

Spencer Edman, a freshman in St. Edward’s Hall, said he chose Notre Dame because of the academic prestige and overall experience.

“There were a lot of schools I went to that were very strong academically, but Notre Dame had the whole package,” he said. “Overall, it was a good choice for me.”

The Sioux Falls, S.D., native said he most looks forward to meeting new people and gaining a different perspective on life.

“South Dakota is pretty insignificant on the scale. This is a bigger thing,” he said. “I’m excited to move in and see something different.”

Interhall sports were a pull for Willem Tax, a freshman from Asheville, N.C., when he enrolled at Notre Dame. As Tax moved into Sorin College Friday, he said the University’s Catholic character and residence hall system also captured his interest.

“I went to a summer program [near home] for six weeks last year, and the dorms were single-sex,” Tax said. “I’m kind of used to that, and we just really bonded. At night we would just hang out in the halls and talk about everything.”

While the incoming students said they were excited to start college, they were nervous about being far from high school friends, trekking to class in the cold South Bend winter and leaving their families.

“I’m pretty far from home and everything I know,” Tax said. “I feel like it’s just nervousness about starting something new.”

As the freshmen unloaded their cars and found their new homes, older students on hall orientation staff welcomed them to campus.

Junior Amy Jurvis, hall orientation commissioner for Ryan Hall, said she wants freshmen to understand that their residence hall and the University as a whole are truly home for them.

“After the weekend, I hope that they realize they can be themselves and be comfortable with it, whether that means playing sports on the quad or belting out ridiculous songs with their friends,” she said.

Junior Luke Westby, hall orientation commissioner for Keenan Hall, said he hopes the freshmen in his dorm find a sense of belonging at the University and in Keenan. Orientation staff tries to give the incoming students a feel for the collective dorm personality, Westby said.

“We put a lot of effort into choosing the people who truly represent the heart and soul of Keenan Hall and Notre Dame,” Westby said. “Hopefully our delivery over the coming days of all the events and talks we’ve planned will give each freshman that unique moment where they simply know that they are where they’ve always wanted to be.”