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A letter from former Gateways

| 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

Maura Bradley 

Conor Fitzgerald 

Brooke Guenther 

Dan Marshalla 

Caroline Plouff 

Gateway Cohort 5.0 –– Class of 2021

Matt Benson 

Maddie Bollenbacher

Chasen Brutocao 

Jake Cahill 

Thomas Dang 

Ally Desrosiers 

Jordan Felicia 

Matt Fessler 

Morgan Heileman 

Evan Hesse 

Declan Hotter 

Reagan Jacobs 

Sophia Kartsonas 

Elisabeth Lasecki 

Bella Martinez 

Paul McAndrew 

Ryan McNelis 

Brooke Mumma 

Hannah Nelson 

Alessandra Nies 

Michael Perenich 

Sophia Stefanovski

Courtney VanHuffel

Olivia Venvertloh 

Jake Winningham 

Gateway Cohort 6.0 –– Class of 2022

Julia Buckley 

Adam Biz 

Chelsey Boyle 

Jack Boyle 

Emma Dudrick 

Grace Hachigian 

Nick Kloska 

Sydney Missigman

Peter Raus 

Megan Rice 

Daley Ryan 

Alberto Sbrolla 

Victoria Smerdon 

Lizzie Trense 

Maddie Tupy 

Gateway Cohort 7.0 –– Class of 2023

Aidan Anderson 

Julia Braniff 

Britton Brindle 

Josiah Castillo 

Kayla Daruty 

Rob Ducheskie 

Kendall Duffie 

Anna Fitzgerald 

John Froman 

Anna Gailoto 

Aya Geary 

Lily Gile 

Martha Gluck 

Aidan Kearns 

EJ Kelly 

Ava Larsen 

Cavan Lynch 

Ireland Majewski 

Maddie McBride 

Zach McKay 

Timothy Merkle 

Lauren Pizzella 

Christina Randazzo

Kiera Russo 

Lauren Skolos 

Rachel Smith 

Katharyn Stefanovski

Rachel Stockford 

JC Wackowski 

Eliza Wall 

Gateway Cohort 8.0– Class of 2024

Philip Ahrens 

Gabriela Betanzos

Jackson Buckley 

Ella Cain 

Sarah Cernugel 

Nate Ciocca 

TJ Connors 

Megan Corrigan 

Angela Chu 

Sarah D’Spain 

Brigit Ferry 

Joseph Gallagher 

Hannah Hebda 

Dylan Hotter 

Sean Kelley 

Toby Kult 

Aedan Joel 

David Liu 

Emma Luchetti 

Jack Malone 

Stella Mancini 

Lauren Murphy 

Celina Ryan 

Delaney Ryan 

Merlot Shorey 

Victoria Son 

Charlotte Stubbs 

Holly Sullivan 

Annie Texido 

Natalie Tihanksy 

Shay Zilvitis

Oct. 4

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