Walking Through the DSU

Christopher Newport is an incredibly active campus. It seems everyone is always doing something. The students love to engage, and no place showcases this better than the David Student Union (or, DSU). On most days, walking through the DSU, you’ll see rows of tables and booths. Organizations request these spaces to help encourage the CNU community to get involved.

For example, the Red Cross Club set up a booth to raise awareness for blood donations, the Marching Band had a table and had a bake sale, and the list goes on and on. It’s important to note that not every booth/table wants donations. Some just want your time, or for you to learn about their organization. It’s difficult to not stop and say hello to at least one or two. Plus, you just might get some free stuff, like a T-shirt or a water bottle.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be on both sides of the table. As a member of the SPCA Club, I sat behind a table to sell cookies to raise funds for our local SPCA. In addition, I also got the chance to sit behind a table for Student Assembly. We collected student surveys for a new Creative Classes initiative. There are so many opportunities at CNU, and to find them, one doesn’t need to look much further than a quick visit to the Captain’s Locker or Regattas Dining Hall in the DSU.

Going to the Gym at CNU

If you didn’t go to the gym in high school, that’s OK! In college, you’ll find it’s much, much easier to start a gym routine and have a great time exercising. Many people’s reluctance to go to the gym has to do with distance and cost. Thankfully, at CNU, the gym is free for all students. Also, being such a small campus, the gym is only a minute’s walk away. You won’t have to worry about either distance or cost so long as you’re a Captain.

Though, many people believe that your first day at the gym is the “hardest.” In a way, it is. You have to motivate yourself to start exercising and take the leap. Also, it’s easy to feel like everyone is staring at you. However, at CNU, you’ll find no one is judging anyone in the gym. Rather, everyone is just working on bettering themselves. If you need a spot, or want to know how to use a machine, just ask a fellow student and they’ll be happy to help.

If you’re still feeling hesitant, consider taking a class. The Freeman Center offers free fitness classes for the students. These involve anything from Pilates to yoga or cycling to Zumba. There truly is something for everyone. So, give it a shot!

A Movie in Newport News

My friends and I have been looking forward to “Thor: Ragnarok” since it was announced in 2014. As such, we were first in line to reserve tickets for the early Thursday showing. Thankfully, we didn’t have to look any farther than Newport News City Center for a quality time.

If you are anything like I was for the past 18 years, I had never truly experienced a quality movie theater. Of course, at the time, I was not aware my theater-going experience had any capacity to be better than it was. That was until I visited the theater in City Center for the first time in late August. I’ll begin with this: the seats recline. That’s insane. That is absolutely awesome. Is this a norm I’m not familiar with? In any case, you can expect to watch your movie in leisure with their incredibly cozy lounge chairs.

Perhaps more importantly than seating is the company. CNU handles that just fine. With such a small campus, it’s easy to quickly get to know plenty of people and befriend them. Assembling a group to see “Thor” was a task completed within minutes. It led to a very pleasant night in pleasant seats with pleasant friends. What more could you ask for? Also, did I mention CNU students get a student discount? That’s pretty sweet too.

Everything You Need to Know About the President’s Leadership Program

The President’s Leadership Program (PLP) is one of the best scholarly programs at CNU. However, it is more than an academic organization. PLP invites its members to become active citizens in the CNU community and beyond; to engage with others. Personally, I am very honored and excited to be a part of this program and I hope to encourage others to understand its benefits and apply themselves.

Firstly, the program is meant to build tomorrow’s leaders. PLP requires its members to pursue a Leadership Studies minor. This is incredibly useful. Learning about and honing one’s leadership abilities is imperative to becoming a good leader in any field. Though, PLP also emphasizes being a leader in your community. This is through civic engagement.

As a freshman in the program, you will be required to volunteer 30 hours of your time towards community service. This sounds daunting, but don’t be worried. This will be some of the most rewarding time spent during your college years. The community of CNU and Newport News is incredibly supportive and easy to interact with. Once you settle on a service track, you’ll develop a very personal and rich relationship with those you are volunteering with and for.

PLP students also enjoy opportunities to see terrific guest speakers on campus, among other things. There is a lot to gain from being a part of the President’s Leadership Program, so be sure to apply!

Why I Joined the SPCA Club

When I walked into the Freeman Center for Club Fair during welcome week it was near overwhelming. There were so many amazing clubs and activities to join. All of them beckoning me, and the rest of the student body, to join. I knew I could only handle a commitment to so many activities, so I had to narrow my choices down. Ultimately, I decided I’d join the SPCA Club, and I had several reasons for this.

Firstly, since I’m already in the President’s Leadership Program, I figured joining SPCA would be a great way to gain service hours. Though, this was hardly the deciding factor. I have always loved animals (I think everyone does). From endlessly re-watching cute dog videos, to becoming a vegetarian several years ago, I’ve always been very passionate about animals.

I was sold when I went to my first meeting. The leaders were incredibly enthusiastic. They had been a part of the club since their freshman year, and now, as seniors, they are leading it. Clearly these people loved the club, and they had good reason.

The SPCA Club works directly with our local SPCA right here in Newport News. 100 percent of our profits go to them, and they do wonders. They work diligently to prevent animal cruelty and give shelter to stray animals. We partner with them. This means we fundraise on campus, such as selling cookies and other treats, and volunteer our time at the shelter. I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of this amazing club. I highly encourage anyone interested to get in touch!

Halloweekend in Potomac River North

A great tradition Christopher Newport holds annually is its trick or treat event hosted by our Residence Hall Association. In every freshman residence hall, students are challenged to decorate to the best of their abilities in the hopes of winning the hall decoration competition. And on the last night of Halloweekend, they put the halls on display for local kids and parents.

In my hall, Potomac River Hall North, we started decorating and planning early. We talked about what sort of banners we’d like to put up and where we put them up. Eventually, we settled on some pumpkins and spooky door hangers, as well as a few Halloween and Christmas banners (we may have been a little preemptive with our Christmas decorations). CNU faculty and staff were invited to bring their kids to the event, as well as the Newport News community.

We gave out candy to the costumed trick-or-treaters as they strolled through the university halls. It was a great experience to see all of the kids’ smiling faces. We even had a Santa Claus to pose with if anyone felt particularly eager to get into the Christmas spirit. CNU isn’t only for students; the institution is very much a part of the Newport News community. Thanks to events like these, we’re able to interact with the local community directly and better immerse themselves into the town.

Astronomy, or Why I’m Up Late Studying

Ever since I reached middle school and was able to pick some of my own classes my mom warned me of an experience she had in college. She took astronomy as an easy A and it was the hardest class she ever took. My mom is incredibly smart, especially in the math department. I am incredibly lacking, especially in the math department. So, if my mom is still shivering at the thought of an astronomy course 20 years after the fact, I should definitely stay away. Though, as fate would have it, I was randomly placed in astronomy for first semester.

Immediately, I tried to drop the class. However, my adviser urged me to attend at least one class and feel it out. And so I did. During that one class, I learned that my professor would not be using any math on the tests. In fact, he said there would be hardly any math at all. I was ecstatic. So, I stayed with the course. Little did I know, it would still prove to be very challenging, as it was entirely new concepts.

However, I can’t help but be grateful for taking this course. While it was certainly my hardest class, it was also perhaps the most effective course in preparing me for future college classes. I had to work harder and challenge myself. I experimented with flash cards and Quizlet, techniques I had never really used before. As a result of this, I’ve been able to succeed in astronomy, a subject I would have never considered taking voluntarily.

College is all about trying new things, and challenging yourself in the process. I’m extremely glad I took this course, despite its rigor. Putting in loads of effort towards a goal makes reaching the goal all the more exciting.

The Many Places to Study at CNU

Christopher Newport is a great campus to study on. This is due to its commitment to academic success. Besides providing a myriad of different resources around campus to help us learn and study, the university also offers many different places to study.

Firstly, of course, there are study rooms in every residence hall. These are awesome if you want to find a quiet place to study without having to leave the comfort of your building. However, these can get crowded really quickly. Luckily, there are plenty of other options.

A big study hot spot is the Trible Library. Most every night, you can find students working on projects and studying here. There is a big lobby with plenty of computers and table space, but there are also several “conference table” style rooms as well. If you can snag one of these rooms, they’re perfect for a group project or study group. It’s also important to remember there is a second floor (often times, it seems as though this is overlooked). There’s plenty of computers and workspaces up there too. And if you’re feeling peckish, feel free to stop by Einstein’s Cafe for a late night pick-me-up.

Though, even the library can become crowded or noisy on busy days. Don’t worry, there are even more locations to choose from. From the many conference rooms in every academic building, the two front rooms of the Freeman Center or the Luter atrium, the list goes on and on for places to study. With so many activities and opportunities at CNU, it’s easy to procrastinate studying. It’s important to get involved on campus, but remember to schedule time for studying, too!

Looking Back on Welcome Week

Unlike many other colleges, Christopher Newport’s welcome period is a week-long introduction to the community. Most colleges have a 2-3 day transition period to welcome students. The university genuinely makes a real effort to insure that every individual is sufficiently acclimated, or is aware of resources if they are having a difficult time.

As soon as I reached the campus, I was greeted by students and faculty who were helping the freshmen find their residence halls. After I was settled, I received a schedule highlighting all the events of the week. Among these were several mandatory seminars. Now, I know the word “mandatory” has a very boring connotation, but these seminars were actually incomparably helpful. They informed me of the rules, resources and recreations available on campus to help me make the most of my four years here.

I was able to learn about the Center for Academic Success. A place where students can go to get extra help in their classes and other places, if needed. There was also a seminar on the study abroad programs available here. CNU is very enthusiastic about these programs, and emphasizes that there is a program for everyone and every major. In addition, I was introduced to the incredible Title IX program that combats sexual assault extremely effectively. I learned what I can do to be a better resource for my peers, and where I could find resources myself.

I was also able to make a lot of terrific friends. As a result of the campus being mostly freshmen during this week, everyone I came across was very friendly and equally excited to engage with other members of our new community. At the end of the week, we all attended the Light the Night festival, a neon party out on the Great Lawn that quite literally “lights the night,” with live music and all.

It’s been two months since, and I am still benefiting from the seminars and connections made during Welcome Week. Community is a cornerstone of Christopher Newport University, and it’s for reasons such as these that community is made. After only one week, I knew I had found a home on campus.

The Wonder of Mozzarella Sticks at CNU

The mozzarella sticks in the Regattas dining hall are delightful. That’s something CNU brochures don’t tell you. The eyes of hundreds of students light up when they read that these savory snacks are being served. Hoards of culinary connoisseurs migrate to the server line and ask “Can I just have lots of mozzarella sticks, please?” With a pleasant smile from the line chef, each student is served their delicious battered mozzarella.

Now, what’s so special about a mozzarella stick, you ask? Well, besides it being tasty, I suppose it’s more of what it represents. At CNU, there are tons of “mozzarella sticks.” These are the little things that students fall in love with and anticipate happily each day. The first little thing I fell in love with was the perpetual games of volleyball and basketball near the clock tower. Rain or shine, these games almost always seem to be going on. The best part? Everyone is welcome, whether you want to play or just cheer on the players. Similarly, when you’re struggling to fumble the door open to get into the building, there’s a pretty good chance the front desk assistant will open it for you with the click of a button.

CNU is a place to learn, to grow and to love, but most of all, it’s a place to call home.