Sergio Arreaga was 8 years old when he first fell in love with the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Eventually, the neighboring Catholic University of America captured his heart as well.
The senior has occasionally crossed campus to be an altar server at Masses in the Basilica during the last four years, bringing everything full circle. Arreaga served at Masses during his childhood and knew he wanted to continue in college.
One thing that stuck with him was a memory of his family visiting when he was a young boy, said Arreaga. “The ability to share in the memory now and be able to help to worship and serve God is why I altar serve at the Basilica.”
Arreaga, who hails from Roosevelt, a small town on Long Island, chose Catholic University because he wanted to study history in the nation’s capital while at a Catholic school.
“It’s a University that has just everything I need,” said Arreaga, a history major with minors in philosophy and theology. “I love my courses here.”
With a diverse palate of academic interests, Arreaga’s favorite classes have ranged from “The Emergence of the U.S. as a Superpower” to “Contemporary Moral Issues” to medieval history, and he spends a majority of his time researching in the John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library.
“The most niche book that I may need for a paper, I’m lucky to find it here,” Arreaga said.
Arreaga has made friends among several of his professors, who he said have gone out of their way to assist him with academic interests outside the classroom.
“When I have a question, they’re willing to answer it. They’re willing to email me paragraphs worth of information,” he said. “The professors here are willing to go out of their way to teach me.”
A fast growing club on campus, esports offers competitive and recreational opportunities for students who are gamers. As president, Arreaga plans club events, handles tech issues and manages club marketing. He says as many 150 people have attended the club's events.
“I came in as a freshman, just wanting to play Call of Duty and make it a competitive team,” said Arreaga.
If the weather is nice, Arreaga probably is running around the University Mall with his Ultimate teammates, where his nickname on the field is “Sarge.” The team is in Division III Atlantic Coast Region under USA Ultimate. In recent years following the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become mostly recreational but plans to rebuild its numbers to return to regular practices and competitive tournaments.
Arreaga’s love for journalistic photography led him to work as photographer intern the past four years for the Division of University Communications, where he shoots campus events for the University website.
With graduation knocking on his door, Arreaga is ready for the next steps but the University is “a memory that I’m never going to forget.”
“It’s big but it’s small; you know everyone but there’s also so many new people out there to meet,” he said. “That’s a great thing about this University.”