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Welcome to Dominican University!

September 9, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

To everyone at Dominican, Welcome!  My name is Anne and I am the lucky girl who gets to write for this Blog.  I’m a sophomore with a nutrition major and a deep love of this school.  I hope and pray that all of you will come to love Dominican University as much as I have.


I’d like to personally invite you to the University Ministry Center, located in Lewis 216.  It has become my ”living room” of sorts, in that I do a whole lot of living in there.  As a member of Student Leadership and Ministry (lovingly acronymed ”SLAM”) as well as the Better Together campaign the UMC is my meeting room.  As a stressed-out student the UMC is my resting place between classes, and as a religiously active and spiritually exploring person the UMC is my safe place to think about big questions, little challenges, and the meaning of it all.  The UMC can be your place too.  Everyone is welcome—religious or secular, non-denominational or Catholic, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or super-senior—we want you to be here!

The friendly professional faces you’ll find in the UMC are DU’s fantastic team of University Ministers.  Shannon Green is the director of Campus Ministry and can usually be found meeting with DU staff, chatting with students, planning events, or preparing for liturgy, always in her classy and stylish way.  Matt Palkert is a University Minister whose specialties include social justice, service, interfaith work and really really deep thinking.  Ann Hillman is the University Minister next door to Matt, and let me tell you, she is a great supervisor.  I don’t say this to get brownie points from my boss, but Ann’s patient, caring, and sweet nature is wonderful.  I would talk to her about anything.  Amy Omi is our fantastic new Music Minister whose creativity, energy, and spiritual depth truly enhances our worship services and musical practices. Our super awesome brand-spanking-new campus chaplain is Fr. Andy McAlpin, O.P..  He jokes about how long he preaches, but every minute he shares wisdom, experience, and spirituality is entirely worth it.  I am so excited to work with these great campus leaders!

Keep your eyes open for events, services, and any reason at all to stop into the UMC.  You can count on a wonderful Mass every Sunday at 7:00pm in Rosary Chapel (unless otherwise posted) with snacks and hospitality afterward.  The first Wednesday of every month is Bagel Day, your perfect opportunity to meet the UMC staff and chat over bagels and coffee.  This Thursday kicks off Breaking Open (8:30-10:00pm in Lewis 216) where we chill and chat about scripture, faith, and what these things mean to us individually.  The Better Together campaign is another super exciting thing going on—more about this later I promise, just read the signs and attend the events!  Shockingly these are only a few of the incredible things which University Ministry coordinates.  Don’t be intimidated, be inspired!  Find something that sounds cool to you and check it out.  You won’t leave disappointed.

Now, to the Freshmen, I offer this advice—Meet as many people at Dominican University that you can.  There’s only ”nothing to do” if you stand in a corner with your eyes closed.  I encourage you to read the posters, attend social events and intellectual presentations, and take advantage of any opportunity you find interesting.  It doesn’t matter if the friends you met during the first week of class don’t want to go—if you want to do something, go and you will find people who share your interests!  Friendships change around a lot during college, especially at the very beginning, so it’s good to establish as many “acquaintanceships” as you can so no matter where you go, there will be a friend!  I know some people who avoided social opportunities their  freshman year because they didn’t feel comfortable or confident.  From what I’ve seen, these are the people who have the most trouble in class, and are the most bored.  So don’t be that kind of person!

Social things are intimidating, especially when everyone there seems to know each other already and looks older or more professional than you.  It’s okay to feel nervous in these situations, but don’t let fear stop you from making friends, networking with campus administrators, and talking with teachers.  The most important thing to remember in this situation is that Dominican University wants you to be here!  (I keep saying that ”we want you to be here” because we do.  I don’t lie.)  We love you and welcome you with open arms.  May you always feel that welcoming spirit on our campus and especially in the University Ministry Center.  If you haven’t already, pop into Lewis 216 and meet Shannon, Ann, Matt, Amy and Fr. Andy, our wonderful University Ministry staff.  Chances are a member of the SLAM team will be in there as well.  Introduce yourself and have a chat—they’d love to talk!  No matter what your faith or non-faith identity, the UMC is a place to relax, talk with friends, meet up with the UMC staff, and develop your Dominican spirit!

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