A letter from former Gateways
Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, October 5, 2021
We are writing as graduates of the Holy Cross-Notre Dame Gateway Program. We were shocked and disheartened by the recent news that the current Gateway class will likely be denied on-campus housing for the upcoming academic year (and quite possibly their entire time as Notre Dame students). The Office for Residential Life names dorm life as the place where “students are able to discover their identity and a sense of belonging by living in a welcoming and inclusive hall community on campus.” The failure of the University to accommodate current Gateways in dorm communities undermines the most basic pillar of our experience of the Program — that Gateways can participate fully in the life of Notre Dame.
Between meals shared at Siegfried Dining Hall and “Holy Hikes” down Dorr Road, each Gateway cohort has built a community that rivals any Notre Dame dorm. Nonetheless, as we began our sophomore years, each of us was ready to have a less complicated answer to the question, “What dorm are you in?” One of the most distinctive marks of a Notre Dame student is a connection to an on-campus residence hall, and we looked forward to shedding the nagging concern that we were not “full” or “real” Notre Dame students. Significantly, the Residential Life website notes that “Residence halls are a ‘point of entry’ for introduction into the broader University culture.” Gateway students (as well as other transfers) desperately desire and need that point of entry.
The eventual transition of our cohorts into the dorms not only solidified our participation in campus life — it was a gift to dorms across campus as well. From sophomore year on, we watched as our friends performed in the Keenan Revue, planned our new dorms’ SYRs and formals, and grew as leaders in our new homes. Last year alone, at least five dorms had an RA that had entered the community as a Gateway
Former Gateways have never been shy about sharing their positive experience of the program. We are proud advocates of our unique opportunity. Through senior year, we consistently volunteer to lead tours and student panels, telling prospective students that the Gateway Program is a very real path to full participation in student life.
With the current Gateway 9.0 class now likely locked out from campus housing once they transfer to Notre Dame, the simple reality is that the dorm experience which helped to shape our formation at Notre Dame is no longer accessible to Gateway students. The same could be said of Driscoll Scholars and the broader transfer community that has faced this challenge for years. Notre Dame believes that life in an intentional community is an essential element of student formation — so much so that most Notre Dame students are required to live on campus for six semesters. It seems this year’s cohort is being denied the opportunity to experience that fundamental sense of belonging — and that Notre Dame residence halls are being robbed of a Gateway cohort that would unquestionably enrich dorm life with their own distinct identity. If Notre Dame believes that dorm life is essential to student formation, it must be accessible to all undergraduates.
Our experience of the Gateway Program was the opportunity to turn a cohort into a lasting family, and it was a joy to watch that family participate fully in the life of Notre Dame. We will always be grateful for that experience — we hope future cohorts have the chance to be too.
Gateway Cohort 4.0 –– Class of 2020
Gateway Cohort 5.0 –– Class of 2021
Gateway Cohort 6.0 –– Class of 2022
Gateway Cohort 7.0 –– Class of 2023
Gateway Cohort 8.0– Class of 2024