A group of Catholic University of America student ministers cheered on the Earley family as their car arrived behind Ryan Hall on Aug. 24. Erin, mother to first-year student Joseph, was teary. It wasn’t because she feared saying goodbye to her child on Move-In Day.
She was touched by the kindness of current students already carrying Joseph’s belongings into the dorm.
“This is the cutest thing ever,” she said. “You get out of the car and you immediately notice this community welcoming all these children in their shirts, clapping and smiling, and taking care of everything that we were stressed about doing.”
Joseph, who will golf for the men’s team, said he chose the University for a myriad of reasons.
“I'm Catholic, so faith is a big part," he said. "The location and how nice everyone was big. I just think it's in a cool area. I can learn a lot. It’s going to be awesome. I’m looking forward to the new experiences and just meeting everyone in the hall.”
Nearly 880 students are estimated to be part of the new student class. After moving into their dorms, students will participate in fun and informative orientation activities throughout the weekend.
Senior Anthony Arrega-Cacao enthusiastically served as an student minister, carrying boxes up the stairs and into rooms alongside Kevin Robinson Jr., the University’s new athletic director. He said helping new students was a calling for Orientation Advisors, Student Ministers and Resident Assistants.
“It's really exciting because, we all remember being freshmen and being awkward and nervous moving in,” Arrega-Cacao, who is majoring in politics and Spanish, said. “They're part of our community now and we want to welcome them with open arms and excitement. It's a great joy to be a part of that.”
New students felt that enthusiasm.
Nursing major Jonathan Portillo said he is glad he completed the Take Flight pre-orientation program for first-generation students because it helped prepare him for the college experience that his parents did not have.
“It already feels like home,” said Portillo. He chose the University because he wanted to stay close to his family in Washington D.C. and said he’s happy that some of his friends he’s had since kindergarten are also attending.
Take Flight started in 2019 with 25 students and this year has grown to 80. More are expected throughout the year.
Anthony “A.J.” Harrison Jr. from Silver Spring, Md, decided to come to Catholic University because he wanted to develop prosthetic devices for veterans and was impressed by the biomedical engineering program.
As he arrived on campus to move into his dorm, Harrison said, “I’m nervous, but it’s just part of growing up and I’m blessed to be here.”
University President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick greeted new Cardinals and their families as they arrived and helped unload their vehicles. He said he looks forward to this because “I love the energy of the day.”
“My hopes for this class are that they would really be together, they would really watch out for each other, they would really care for each other. They really become one community. You know, part of the challenge that you have at universities is that students kind of break up into little cliques and small groups, and that's fine. You know, you have to have your own personal sphere of people who care for you, your own personal friends, but I would hope that all of our students would look at our entire student body and say, you know, what can I do to be of help to you?”
His wife, Nancy, who joined him, said it is important for both of them to be there because “I think their first impression will stay with them forever so it’s good for them to be welcomed by so much of the community,” said Nancy.
Before rushing off to help another family move in, Dr. Kilpatrick said, “That's the beauty of this university. We're one university, we're a community and we care about each other.”
See Move-In Day photos from Patrick Ryan below. More will be added throughout the weekend.