August 23, 2018

It was a morning of new beginnings on Thursday, Aug. 23, as more than 800 first-year and transfer students moved into the residence halls at The Catholic University of America. The new students represent 38 states and the District of Columbia, and nine countries and territories. They were welcomed to campus by more than 80 student volunteers, who helped give directions, sign in families for orientation, and move boxes and suitcases into their rooms.  

Move-in Day marked the beginning of Orientation 2018, a four-day program to help the incoming students make the adjustment to life at Catholic University. Over the course of the program, the students and their families have opportunities to meet academic advisors, get to know their classmates, and become more familiar with the University and Washington, D.C.

One of the overall goals of orientation, according to sophomore Nathaniel Goonasekeram, of Gaithersburg, Md., is to help new students feel comfortable and welcome in their new home. Even though he didn’t travel far from his family to begin his freshman year at Catholic University, Goonasekeram remembers feeling apprehensive when he arrived on campus for the first time.

“I was terrified,” he admits. “I didn’t know anybody, and I felt so far away from home.”

His fears were quickly put to rest, however, by the sincerity and cheerfulness of Orientation Advisors — returning student volunteers who arrive early each fall to help new students find their footing. Goonasekeram was so inspired by that experience that he decided to volunteer for an Orientation Advisor position himself. Now he is excited to welcome new students in the same way.

“That these students remembered my name when I didn’t even remember theirs really impressed me,” he says. “I love meeting new people and everything, but at the end of the day, when you’re a new student, you don’t go home. It’s a big change, and Orientation made it bearable, even enjoyable. I wanted to give that same experience to the next generation of students.”

For more information about Orientation 2018, visit