It's a time full of emotion for students returning to and beginning their collegiate journey at Newman University.
The annual Jet Days brought activities, speakers, games and of course lots and lots of free food to a slew of incoming freshmen and returning Jets during the weekend of Aug. 25-27.
It all started with the official move-in of freshmen to Carrocci Hall on Friday morning. More than 200 students and their families brought carloads of dorm essentials — and the volunteers were ready and waiting for their arrival.
Dean of Students Levi Esses said everyone was well-prepared for the move-in event.
"We have a large class this year — 215 freshmen," Esses said. "Move-in went really smooth and parents were really pleased. We had the first eight or 10 parking spots right in front of the building (Carrocci Hall) open. They would pull in and they would get their stuff out (helped) by a lot of volunteers, including our women’s basketball team and our first-year experience leaders, so it was just a great move-in.”
After the move-in was complete, students and their guests were invited to 11 a.m. Mass followed by lunch and formal welcomes by Newman President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D., Sister Charlotte Rohrbach, ASC, Esses and others on Founder's Plaza.
After lunch, First-Year Experience (FYE) volunteers divided the newcomers up into color-coded groups. The small groups of about 10 to 15 students got to know each other during individual sessions before heading over to the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center to join musician and speaker Jason LeVasseur for some team-building activities.
LeVasseur's return appearance was a hit with the students. The energy in the room was high and friendships were forming.
After gathering for an official class photo, all were invited to the Crown Uptown Theatre for dinner and entertainment, including an opening act by LeVasseur and a performance by magician Daniel Martin.
The fun didn't stop there.
The weekend continued with activities lasting throughout Saturday. All three meals of the day were once again provided to the students in attendance, and they were also introduced to their Traditions and Transitions (T & T) classmates. T & T is a required course for all incoming freshmen taken during their first semester on campus.
One of the many functions of the T & T classes is to introduce students to a spirit of giving and community service. To kick off this semester, all of the students participated in filling stuffed animals with fiberfill. The stuffed animals will be sent to an organization in Texas that will distribute them to refugee children.
Saturday night ended with movie night in De Mattias Performance Hall. Students gathered for a showing of "Jurassic World" on the big screen.
Jet Days concluded with a big welcome back bash for students, staff and faculty. Those who came out for the party enjoyed dinner and activities, including giant inflatables, volleyball, badminton and more.
The weekend was a great way to get incoming freshmen acclimated to campus and the activities to come. Overall, the students shared the same feelings of excitement and nervousness about their new adventure at Newman.
Catherine Sullivan came to Newman for the pre-physical therapy program and is looking forward to starting her journey at the university. "I broke my ankle over the summer," she said. "So I have experienced a lot of physical therapy. I’m excited to study what I was going through and how to help student-athletes recover from their injury."
Freshman Leanne Vastbinder said, "I’ve been homeschooled for most of my education, so I’m looking forward to a different educational experience. Also, I’m looking forward to playing on a college-level bowling team."