DPAC hosts film series exploring contemporary France

The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (DPAC) is hosting “Albertine Cinematheque and Contemporary French Film,” a film series that runs from January 19th to March 2nd on Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. Each week, students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross, IUSB and community members in South Bend enrolled in the one-credit course watch contemporary French films and then stay after for a discussion with a faculty member. Anyone can watch the films at DPAC, even if they are not enrolled in the course. 

Dr. Sonja Stojanovic, assistant professor of French and Francophone studies, is the instructor for the course. She said the series is funded by Albertine cinematheque that is part of the FACE Foundation (French-American Cultural Exchange in Education and the Arts) that invites applications every year for the festival grant program.

“This year we are one of 50 other campuses to receive the grant,” Stojanovic said. “A list of about 20 contemporary films is made available by the cinematheque program and we are invited to choose at least six films and create public events surrounding these films.”  

Ricky Herbst, cinema program manager of the Browning Cinema at DPAC, spoke further about how the series was conceptualized.

“We have a mix of films that explore the colonial past and present of France particularly as it relates to West Africa. That is one kind of narrative that emerges from this very eclectic series,” Herbst said.

Justin Klonoski, a sophomore at Notre Dame, enrolled in the course to apply what he’s learnt in previous French courses which he has taken as part of his International Economics major.

“These are… movies made in the last two to three years, so just being able to understand the socio-economic context behind these movies… really helped me develop an appreciation for the talent of the creators and modern French culture,” said Klonoski, who will be studying abroad in Paris in the fall.

Klonoski said he enjoyed the film “Nous” (We) by Alice Diop, the first film of the series, that played on Jan. 19. The director is the daughter of Senegalese immigrants who grew up in the banlieue, the suburbs of Paris.

“The point of the movie was that her mother died a few years ago, and she regretted not having a lot of recording and film of her,” Klonoski explained. “So she decided to… create a film of other people in the banlieue like the elderly, young boys, there’s even a scene with alcoholics.”

Herbst contextualized how local audiences can think about “Nous.”

“The director comes from a background and a place where her voice would traditionally not be highlighted. She’s meditating on what it means to be part of a culture and knowing that if you’re not going to be fully part of that culture, you do your best to put your stamp on it,” Herbst said.

Herbst explained that the film raises big, philosophical questions we are all able to enjoy and think about, such as “how would I make this movie about my own life about my own environment?” and “how could I tell a story about on campus or in South Bend?”

Stojanovic said she is looking forward to the screening of the animated film “Josep” that is set during the Second World War and will be screened on Feb. 9. Stojanovic said over email that the film tells the story of Josep Bartoli, a painter and cartoonist who, in 1939, became a refugee following the Spanish Civil War and was detained in a French internment camp. 

“Each film screened in the series is followed by a discussion moderated by Notre Dame faculty and ‘Josep’ will be moderated by Pedro Aguilera-Mellado, assistant professor of Spanish and Iberian Studies, who is working with colleagues in Spain to connect us with a special guest… I hope people stay for the discussion and find out who [the guest is]” Stojanovic said. 

DPAC has been organizing film series like these since 2018 under the title “Learning Beyond the Classics.”

“We make readings, introductions and discussions available to hybrid classes of students and community members,” Herbst said. “We have the price point at $2… and we hope that that lowers the barriers for people who want to come in and take a college level class. The series is free for Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross, IUSB and high school students.”

Klonoski emphasized how accessible and relatable the films in the series are.

“Even if you don’t understand French, the subtitles were really accurate. They didn’t take the direct translation of the French… but they actually took the more artistic meaning behind it,” Klonoski said.

Stojanovic views the series as a way for people to expand their horizons.

“The French section of the department of romance languages and literatures is planning on offering more film-based 1-credit courses in the future, open to all no matter the level of French – [so] look for us when you sign up for courses under ROFR,” Stojanovic said.

In his work curating the series, Herbst said his primary objective was for people to gain an awareness of their biases and to give them the tools to become a more informed audience member, not only for movies they might watch, but for the news they encounter and the stories they read.

“A really good way to become a better person is to become a more astute movie watcher, because you need self awareness… to very quickly interpret the world in front of you,” Herbst said.

Contact Angela Mathew at


Payne-Miller, Jarmon administration accomplishes community-building programs, policy making

Holy Cross College student body president Dion Payne-Miller and vice president Oscar Jarmon focused their efforts in the first semester on making student government more responsive to students and instituting policy to bring the community together.

Payne-Miller emphasized that one of his biggest priorities was making student government more efficient and responsive to the students. 

“A lot of what I’ve done this semester has been very structure based, in terms of the structure of [student government association (SGA)], how things run and how proposals are processed,” Payne-Miller said, adding that proposals introduced by senators are now processed faster than before.

The programming board has also become more effective this semester, Payne-Miller argued.

“Our programming board, so our social concerns and entertainment committees, they’ve done a wonderful job at putting together community events on campus,” he said.

Jarmon highlighted the Fall Fest week as one of student government’s biggest accomplishments. Fall Fest consisted of a week of daily events in the beginning of October, including the Holy Cross hoedown dance and an open mic night. 

“Monday to Friday, we had events and all those events had a really good turnout,” Jarmon said.

Both Payne-Miller and Jarmon noticed that the student body has been much more engaged this semester.

“Our students this year are very vocal,” Payne-Miller affirmed. “And that goes from our senate leaders, all the way to just the general campus community.”

Jarmon added that students have been eager to share their thoughts.

“During our SGA office hours people come in and talk about ideas,” he said. “They’ve been a really good help to us and the SGA.”

Agreeing with Jarmon, Payne-Miller emphasized how important the involvement is to the campus.

“We’re a small campus. And so having those relationships, I think are really important to us,” Payne-Miller stated.

The second semester is slated to be a busy one at Holy Cross, the student body President and Vice-President noted.

“The next semester is the busiest semester because we have spring formal and then our new president inauguration,” Jarmon said.

Payne-Miller introduced a number of policy ideas this semester that he hopes to get through next semester. One important issue for student government is the printing system at Holy Cross.

“We have a certain amount of money that we get to use on printing for each semester,” Payne-Miller said. “What we’re advocating for is to get whatever money that’s left on the account to get that to roll over to the next semester.” 

Trying to get more spices in the dining hall is also a priority for the Student Government Association. One of the biggest possible policy proposals for next semester is the changing over parietal hours at Holy Cross College.

“We’re trying to get parietals moved back on weekends,” Payne-Miller stated, pointing out, “At Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, it’s 2 a.m. and at Holy Cross, it’s 1 a.m. […] Students want to be able to spend more time with friends and develop relationships.” 

Payne-Miller noted that the only reason that parietals are at a different time at Holy Cross is because of a policy instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic that is still in place.

Concluding his remarks, Payne-Miller re-emphasized the role that he wants the community to play in his policy making. 

“I want the government to be a student government-led organization,” Payne-Miller said.

Review: Payne-Miller and Jarmon’s emphasis on student involvement in student government is an inspired idea and should promote a stronger community as well as more popular student events. However, the student government should focus on putting together more events and passing more tangible policy as opposed to only a focus on structural reforms. The planned docket for next semester promises to accomplish this goal.

Contact Liam Kelly at


Holy Cross men’s basketball wins first game of season

The Holy Cross men’s basketball team took the court Monday night against East-West University for their first game of the season. Even though the matchup was not a conference game, the team was aggressive in securing the win with a final score of 78-58.

McKenna Arena was filled with Holy Cross students and parents. Fans cheered for the players while dressed as construction workers, minions and hotdogs in celebration of Halloween.

The team ended last season with a 8-14 conference record. With nine freshmen players joining the team, head coach Mike McBride said that “the new guys have really given us a spark.” 

The Saints gained the first possession and converted on a jump shot, but after East-West scored during their first possession as well, both teams struggled for the upper hand. The contest featured four early lead changes. But five minutes into the first half, Holy Cross gained the lead and refused to lose it the rest of the game.

In the first half, the Saints scored 45 points, putting them ahead by 12. The second half only increased the Saints lead, finishing with a 20-point margin of victory.

The Saints leading scorer and freshman forward Tommy Snyder brought in 31 points and 13 rebounds, setting a high expectation for his performance this season. Freshman guard Phil Robles II brought in 19 points behind Snyder. Robles also scored three of the Saints four 3-pointers tonight. Sophomore guard Justin O’Neal  led the team with five assists, and senior guard Beau Ludwick led the way defensively with two steals.

East-West had three main scorers tonight: De’Quaniis Jackson, Thomas Teklegergis and Elgin Bowen, who scored 14, 13, and 12 points, respectively. The team scored 11 three-pointers throughout the game and had nine assists.

In the second half, a quick steal left William Perry open for a shot. Perry attempted to dunk the ball, but failed. The missed shot brought the Holy Cross fans to their feet in cheers.

The Saints ended the game with a 49.1% field goal percentage compared to East-West with 37.3%. Holy Cross also outperformed in free throw percentages, 69% to 30%.

East-West is, “on the perimeter, very similar to a lot [of] the teams in our league,” McBride said. With a “pretty high level [of] intensity and intent” coming from the Saints tonight, McBride expressed optimism that the team can perform well this upcoming season.

Next up, Holy Cross plays Bethel University on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

Contact Sarah Ryan at


Saints draw No. 15 Olivet Nazarene, await home playoff game

The Holy Cross College men’s soccer team last faced a ranked opponent in their first game of the season, and the outcome was less than desirable. 

Having just played an exhibition game against Grace College, the Saints team hosted then-ranked No. 21 Bethel University. The match was a 1-1 tie at the half, but the Pilots broke the game open in the second half to win over the Saints 6-1.

The Saints began their regular season by facing a ranked team, so it was only fitting to end their regular season by facing a ranked squad. And by going on the road to face the No. 15 ranked Olivet Nazarene University, the result shows how much this Saints team has grown this season. 

The first half was a back-and-forth struggle that ended in a scoreless tie, with the Saints holding a 9 to 6 shooting advantage. 

The scoring began in the second half for the Saints when junior forward Gabe Nyenka found sophomore forward Kevin Vidana, who put it past Tigers keeper Mike Giannotta in the 55th minute. 

The Saints held the lead until the 68th minute, when Konstantin Papanikolaou converted a penalty kick, beating sophomore goalkeeper Claudio Fuentealba. 

The back-and-forth nature of the game continued until the 78th minute when the Saints would reclaim the lead, courtesy of junior defender’sVictor Sellu’s goal (assisted by senior midfielder Elmin Ejup). 

It looked like the Saints would hold onto the lead and earn a significant conference win, but Olivet was not yet done. In the 84th minute, Nick Kilian found Max Jasper, who was able to score, tying the game. 

With the 2-2 tie, the Saints finish with a final overall record of 9-4-4 and a conference record of 7-1-4 (25 points). 

Conference tournament preview

As it currently stands, the Saints are the only CCAC team to have finished their conference slate. The remaining 12 teams have at least one more game.

What does that mean for the Saints? Well, thanks to the draw against Nazarene, the Saints got one point. That means they are guaranteed a top-four playoff spot and to host a first-round playoff game.

While the Saints are assured a home playoff game, their opponent will remain unknown until Saturday. There are currently three teams the Saints can match up with in the first round: Judson, Trinity International and Roosevelt.

A key matchup is Governors State against Trinity International. 

Governors State currently has 24 points, so they would need an outright win against Trinity to pass the Saints. A tie with Trinity would result in a 25-point tie between Holy Cross and Governors State, for which Holy Cross has the head-to-head tiebreaker, so the Saints would maintain third. 

Governors State hosts Trinity and has a better record. A win would move them into third, demoting Holy Cross to fourth. 

Roosevelt plays Indiana Northwest, who is 0-10 in conference play, meaning Roosevelt is likely to win their matchup and earn three points (they currently have 19). 

Assuming Roosevelt wins, they would have 22 points, meaning that Judson would need, at worst, a tie, as they have the head-to-head tiebreaker against Roosevelt. 

Judson plays Saint Xavier University in a game that is a toss-up. As the home team, Judson has a slight edge.

The most likely scenario may be that Governors State beats Trinity, bumping Holy Cross to fourth, while Judson beats or ties Saint Xavier. At the same time, Roosevelt is likely to defeat winless IU Northwest, which means that Holy Cross would host Judson, who uses their win against Roosevelt as a tiebreaker to stay in fifth. The Saints tied Judson, 1-1, back on Sept. 13.

Contact Tom Zwiller at


‘The Art of Faith’ exhibit now open at Holy Cross

In an effort to showcase the diversity of religious art in the area and celebrate the intersection of artwork and the Catholic faith, Angelo Ray Martinez, a Holy Cross professor and the director of the St. Joseph Gallery organized and curated ‘The Art of Faith.’ Open to visitors on the Holy Cross campus until Dec. 16, this exhibition features 10 artists from a variety of artistic and Catholic backgrounds, all with the united vision of sharing what faith looks like to them. 

The pieces on show include both artwork commissioned specifically for the exhibit and pieces like that of Melonie Mulkey, an adjunct professor of visual arts. Her work, ‘The Five Wounds,’ was featured in a two-person exhibition called ‘Innermost’ at the University of Notre Dame earlier this year.

Mulkey’s work ‘The Five Wounds’ is on display in the St. Joesph Gallery until Dec. 16. / Courtesy of Angelo Ray Martínez

Mulkey, an experienced artist, said this exhibit is different than some of the others she has been in.

“This is, in a really long list of exhibitions, the first one I’ve been in that specifically addresses and talks about faith,” Mulkey said.

Mulkey’s excitement at the unique nature of the exhibition and its artwork is also reflected in local artist and high school art teacher Anastassia (Tess) Cassady, who made last year’s Paschal candle for the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

“Fusing Catholicism and interesting, heartfelt and original art is something that hasn’t been seen in a long time,” she said. “When I do something that’s artistic and religious, fellow artists will respect the artistry of it but can say ‘I don’t want anything to do with Christianity, why would you mix the two’ so I was really impressed with the fact [Martinez] found such a wide variety of art.”

Bringing together the local community of Catholic artists was a major component of Martinez’ vision, he said.

“There aren’t a lot of art venues that dedicate themselves to exhibiting contemporary faith-based artworks, so it can be difficult to find the conversations and discourse that is necessary to progressing your work,” Martinez said.

This type of collaboration is something Cassady said she is all for and thinks it could serve a greater purpose in reaching the wider Catholic community.

“I think it’s a great idea, especially for parishes to have someplace to both bring artists together, but also educate the congregation with original artwork that they have never seen before, rather than the same printouts that are faded [churches] that they don’t really notice anymore — not because it’s not striking, but that it’s nothing new,” she explained.

Martinez expressed that he hopes both Catholics and non-Catholics can gain something from the exhibit.

“I hope that visitors are able to reflect on their own Catholic faith in a deeper way if they are of the faith, and if they are not, that they are able to better appreciate some of the beauty and mysteries of Catholicism,” Martinez said.

As for the effects of this exhibition, Mulkey said she is confident it will make a positive impact on the Catholic communities’ response to more modern, faith-based art.

Contact Kate Naessens at


Saints sweep Jaguars, look ahead to St. Francis

It is no secret that both the Holy Cross College men’s and women’s soccer teams needed to earn points in conference play.  

The men’s team’s last win was against Goshen back in August. Since then, they had lost to Lourdes University, Cardinal Stritch and Judson. The team had played two great conference matchups but earned just one point, thanks to the Judson draw. 

It was with this in mind that Holy Cross went to University Park, Illinois, to face Governors State. 

Early on, the game appeared to be headed much the same way the game against Judson ended — a draw. However, in the 53rd minute, senior midfielder Axel Valenzuela passed the ball to senior midfielder Elmin Ejup, who was able to score from 15 yards out, putting the Saints up 1-0. 

However, a Governors State penalty kick by Diego Camarena would tie the game up with just 23 minutes left. 

Holy Cross would score again in the 75th minute, with sophomore forward Isaac Filippo scoring from close range, assisted by junior defender Victor Sellu. The goal would hold for Holy Cross, giving the Saints their first win in conference play this season. 

Freshman Isaias Rubio got the start in net over sophomore Claudio Fuentealba — an adjustment that may become the norm for the Saints. Rubio did allow the penalty kick but recorded five saves in his 90-minute outing. 

A trend worth noting in the men’s team is through three games in conference play, Holy Cross has out-fouled its opponents in every game. Against Cardinal Stritch, Holy Cross out-fouled the Wolves 20-19, and against Judson, the Saints out-fouled the Eagles 20-17. The trend continued against Governers State, as Holy Cross out fouled the Jaguars by eight, 26-18.

The win moves Holy Cross to 3-3-1 on the season with a 1-1-1 record in conference play. The Saints continue their road trip on the Wednesday when they take on Saint Francis in Joliet, Illinois.

Historically Holy Cross has found success against the Fighting Saints, with the College recording a record of 8-2-4. The Saints had a winning streak of five games against Saint Francis from 2012 to 2016, but from 2017 the two teams have been relatively even, with a record of 1-1-3.

Similar to the men’s team, the women’s team had not won since August against Goshen, though the women tied Lourdes and lost to Cardinal Stritch and Judson. 

Unlike the men’s team, the Saints scored early against Governors State, with senior midfielder Olivia Shaw scoring from 15 yards out, with an assist from senior midfielder Lauren Cernak. The goal would stand through the half, with the Saints adding to their lead in the 69th minute. This time it would still be Cernak with the assist, but junior forward Taelyn Hendrickson would score with a shot from 17 yards out. 

The Saints are now 2-2-4 overall, with an in-conference record of 1-2. Governors State, meanwhile, fell to 0-4 with a conference record of 0-3. 

Sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Primack has earned two shutouts on the season, with one against Governors State and Indiana University East.

The Saints will continue their conference play with a trip to Joliet, Illinois, on Tuesday. The women’s game will kick off against the Fighting Saints at 6 p.m., followed by the men’s game at 8 p.m.

The women’s team boasts a poor record against Saint Francis. They are 3-10 dating back to 2009. In their last three matches, however, the Holy Cross is undefeated, winning the three games by a combined margin of 7-2. 

Contact Tom Zwiller at


Holy Cross College celebrates Founder’s Day

This Monday marked 56 years since Holy Cross College’s establishment. The College was founded on Sept. 19, 1966 by Holy Cross Brothers whose mission is to be “educators in the faith” to men and women everywhere — especially the poor, afflicted and oppressed.

Michael Griffin, senior vice president and interim provost of Holy Cross College, said that the College was originally founded to train Holy Cross brothers to teach at the high school level.

“At that time, Catholic brothers were really expanding their ministry to teaching,” Griffin said. “If you look around the country at some of the best Catholic high schools, many of them were begun by brothers in the 50s and the 60s.”

Previously, brothers would pursue degrees at institutions like Notre Dame or St. Edward’s University in Texas. Holy Cross was the first of its kind, Griffin said.

“Holy Cross College really provided a foundation where the brothers could live and study together,” he explained. 

In 1968, the College became coeducational just two years after its founding because the brothers saw a chance to expand their mission, Griffin explained.

“The brothers saw that it was not only them who could benefit from the education. So very quickly, before many other colleges, including Notre Dame [that became coeducational in 1972], the brothers decided to open up Holy Cross to women and men to join,” Griffin said. 

When it was founded, Holy Cross College initially offered two-year programs, but over the years, it expanded to become a four-year college. 

Students marked Founder’s Day by wearing their maroon and silver Holy Cross gear to show off their school spirit. The College distributed Holy Cross themed cookies and had food trucks out on the courtyard.

Holy Cross students lined up at food trucks on the quad outside of dorms to celebrate the College’s 56th annual Founder’s Day. / Courtesy of Sara Cole

Sophomore Sara Cole said she thought Founder’s Day was a great way to build Holy Cross camaraderie.

“It’s just a great way for students to hang out and be in community,” Cole said.  

Cole said that she was drawn to Holy Cross because she wanted to pursue the elementary education major that they offer. The program has allowed her to sit in on student teaching sessions since her first year.

“Other schools [with comparable programs] generally only allow students to start practical experience with teaching their senior year,” Cole said. 

Coming from a small high school, Cole said she also appreciated having a small college community where she knows the majority of students. 

Student body president of the College, sophomore Dion Payne-Miller also praised Holy Cross’ tight-knit community.

“I love that the community is so small that you pretty much know everybody from students all the way up to professors, and even administration for that matter,” he said.

Payne-Miller hopes to see more partnerships between Holy Cross, Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.

“Besides clubs … we can work together for our overall community of South Bend and Mishawaka,” Payne-Miller explained. 

Griffin said that Founder’s Day at Holy Cross really highlights the uniqueness of the tri-campus community.

“The Holy Cross, Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s tri-campus … really is one of the only places in the world where you have three colleges founded by each of the three parts of Catholic religious life — priests, sisters and brothers. I often say that 46556 is the most unique zip code in Catholic higher education.”

Contact Angela at


The holy hike never got easier

As those close to me know best, ever since I was 11 years old I wanted to go to Notre Dame. While it was due to watching “Rudy” and falling in love with Notre Dame football, I learned more about the University, its academics and its Catholic tradition. It only led me to fall in love with it more. While I was never the best student, I thought I would be able to attend school there someday. Everyone I knew, from family, friends, teachers, even my dentist, said I was like a modern day Rudy. Fast forward to my senior year of high school, I got my decision letter… denied.

It was heartbreaking to say the least. Less than a week later, I found out I got accepted to Holy Cross College. While my mom was ecstatic that I got into college. I forced a fake smile on my face, which was believable enough that she never knew that I wasn’t happy when I got my letter (I know you’re reading this mom, I’m sorry you found out this way). Instead, my whole mindset was, “OK, work your butt off and transfer over,” so I did. To keep this short, I got denied again and then again my sophomore year. I made a promise to myself to not try my junior year, as I thought only being at Notre Dame for one year would make me feel like I wasn’t truly ever a student. 

Fast forward to senior year. I have taken multiple classes at Notre Dame, work for The Observer and The Shirt committee, all while still being a student at Holy Cross. I have embraced Holy Cross like my second home, and will always continue to represent them with great pride. Saying that though, I can’t admit that it doesn’t hurt taking the “holy hike” all the way to Riley Hall, passing by the Golden Dome and thinking about what could’ve been.

It’s a weird feeling that I have been involved closely with both schools. While some deny it and try to say it isn’t true, we all know that there are people at Notre Dame who look down on those who attend Holy Cross. I’ve never known why and it confuses me everyday. There are people like me who are just as if not more involved with both Notre Dame and Holy Cross, yet they are not given as much respect, only because we proudly represent the Saints instead of the Irish.

I’ve had my fair share of experiences with Notre Dame kids (even those who are/were Gateways), some who are the nicest people I’ve ever met and those who brush me off as soon as I mention that I go to Holy Cross. It sucks that as soon as I cross the street over to Notre Dame — despite being involved in so much — that I still feel like I don’t deserve to be here. I got denied entry, I’ve come to terms with that, but all that I ask is that I get the same respect from people here that I give to them. Is that too much to ask? I thought we were called a tri-campus for a reason.

Contact Gabriel Zarazua at

The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


The scenic drive is always shorter: Thank you from a Gateway 9.0

July 22, 2022 might as well be a national holiday. It was the day Gateway students and transfers received their housing assignments. Perhaps more importantly, it was the day Gateways finally got the gift of a cookie-cutter response to the age-old Notre Dame question: “What dorm are you in?” 

When I started my freshman year as a Holy Cross-Notre Dame Gateway student, I found this dorm question particularly daunting; a seemingly simple question for the average Notre Dame student felt like an embarrassing admittance for me. It felt like telling people over and over again, “Notre Dame didn’t want me, I wasn’t enough.” But I grew to realize no one was thinking that. Being a Gateway is not about the crushing rejection; being a Gateway is about the beautiful opportunity.

Being a Gateway is about going to Siegfried (Siggy) Dining Hall at Holy Cross right before closing time. You get some ice cream and adorn your dessert with a seemingly endless array of toppings before biking to Hesburgh Library to cram for a Notre Dame exam. Being a Gateway is about rolling out of bed two minutes before your Holy Cross class and arriving on time; it’s also about leaving half an hour before Moreau and never being on time. Being a Gateway is about looking at the Holy Cross arch with the same fondness and affection as the golden dome. Being a Gateway is about feeling like you belong everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Like many Gateways, the year felt like a tug-of-war: I felt stretched between worlds, the small tight-knit community at Holy Cross and the broad network at Notre Dame. I’ve realized, however, that “everyone Gateways differently.” In other words, we all found our own unique way to balance two emails, two ID cards, two campuses and two distinct facets of our identities. Some Gateways fostered friendships exclusively within the cohort, while others connected more with Holy Cross or Notre Dame students. Some preferred the Pfeil Center to work out, while others preferred the Smith Center or the Rock. Gateway gave us the luxury of choice. We could choose where we wanted to exercise, study, eat and socialize. But, at the end of every chaotic day, we all returned to the illuminated St. Joe’s chapel, the small classes and the quaint dining hall. We all returned to our Twin XL beds in Anselm, Basil, James, North, Pulte and South. 

Of course, there were times when I missed Holy Cross events to study at LaFun and there were weeks when I hardly ate meals at Siggy. Now that I’m at Notre Dame full-time, I look back on these moments when I chose Notre Dame over Holy Cross with a twinge of regret. I miss the coziness of the tiny Holy Cross dining hall. I miss the kitchen staff knowing my name. I miss eating lunch alongside professors and peers alike. I miss watching pickup basketball games in the Pfeil Center while running around the indoor track. I miss the three a.m. strolls to the Student Union in my pajamas to get Reese’s peanut butter cups; I miss always being a two minute walk from friends. I miss so much of the Holy Cross experience. 

I admit, starting sophomore year with a concise answer to the “dorm question,” instead of a long-winded explanation of the Gateway program sometimes feels like a departure from my identity, but I’m learning to embrace the easy answer. I’m also learning that just because I don’t live at Holy Cross anymore doesn’t make me any less of a Gateway. I can still return to Siggy for meals with friends, work out in the Pfeil and pull ridiculous hours studying in the Vincent atrium. I can still wear my North Hall sweatshirt and take my Notre Dame friends on “field trips” to my forever home, Holy Cross. 

With time, some Gateways might shed their old identity, but we will forever be bonded by Holy Hikes and housing crises and awkward moments swiping into North Dining Hall. We will forever be bonded by our commitment to fulfill the promise to attend Notre Dame.

To the current Gateway 10.0s: Embrace every aspect of your experience this year. Embrace your professors; embrace the Saints; embrace the mundane moments that will someday be extraordinary. There will be times when you feel like an outsider on Notre Dame’s campus, like anything but the “shiny, special thing.” I assure you, you are just as capable and spectacular as any Notre Dame student. Take your time and fall in love with where and who you are right now. Fall in love with your next door neighbor who isn’t a Gateway, but might just become your best friend. This is your year. You don’t have to do it my way, but do it right. 

Kate Casper

Kate Casper (aka, Casper, Underdog, or Jasmine) is from Northern Virginia, currently residing in Breen-Phillips Hall. She strives to be the best waste of your time. You can contact her at