I had an absolute blast at Fall Fest last year. So, this year, I was practically counting down the days until the next one. Fall Fest is a festival on the Great Lawn hosted by the Campus Activities Board, or CAB for short. They invite student organizations and other companies to set up stands and offer free games, food, and merchandise to the students.
The event started at 4:30 p.m. and I was shocked to see how full the Great Lawn was at 4:45 p.m. when I arrived. It seemed as though the entire campus showed out for the big event. Everyone was having a great time learning about all the organizations that were tabling. In order to win a free CAB fanny pack, you had to visit eight stands and get a stamp. Most of the stands involved a game of some sort. My favorite was the Red Cross stand wherein you had to guess the amount of candy corn in a container.
My friends and I shared plenty of laughs and had an amazing time. We enjoyed free sno-cones and popcorn, as well as entered the space maze which was a huge inflatable structure that was incredibly disorienting, but still lots of fun. I spent a good two hours at the festival, but it still feels like it was over too soon. I can’t wait for next year’s!
We rehearsed for our Family Weekend concert for about five weeks, and on Saturday, October 6, pretty much the entire Department of Music performed on stage together: University Orchestra and Band, Jazz Ensemble, Marching Captains, Chamber Choir and University Chorale (that’s me). There were antics, gimmicks and a lot of laughs on stage, as everyone was enjoying each other’s performances.
One particularly funny performance involved the trumpeters putting on taxi driver hats and acting like they were embarrassed because they had arrived late to the performance under-prepared. The song was supposed to mimic the sounds of a taxi roaming around, and it was hard to not laugh on stage when the cop came out and gave them tickets for “forgetting the key change.” We even had an appearance from Aphrodite. Yes, Aphrodite the Greek goddess, and she roamed across the stage to strums from a harp, throwing roses out into the audience and at the instrumentalists. You name it, Christopher Newport’s music department has probably done it.
In my estimation, the best part of the concert was when I started – I mean the University Chorale started to sing. We sang a really fun, upbeat song titled “Let the River Run” to the beat of drums, “The Prayer” which is a really beautiful song that we dedicated to our first lady Rosemary Trible, who was blowing kisses at us the entire time, and finally “God of our Father” which is a really powerful piece that made everyone in the crowd stand up and wave their miniature American flags.
I am so glad I joined the University Chorale this year because I really missed the feeling of performing on stage with friends. I missed having the music in my life. I missed the sense of community that emerges in a choir. But now that Family Weekend is in the history books, it’s time to get a move-on to Holiday Happening!
Christopher Newport offers so many opportunities that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Here’s a few of our best!
- President’s Leadership Program (PLP): As a member of PLP, I can attest, this program gives you so much more than just a minor in leadership. Frankly, I was shocked at all of the opportunities presented to me as a result of being a part of this program. I’m barely into my second year and I’ve already learned so much about being a great leader, as well as being a great follower. The program emphasizes community, working together as a unit towards a common goal. Outside of academics, I’ve had the privilege to attend speaker events in which I can learn from some of the great leaders of our day. I’ve also volunteered over 30 hours on behalf of the program, engaging with my community and creating important connections with those around me. On top of all that, the program can also give out scholarship money, which can greatly ease the burden of student debt. This is a program unlike any other, and is completely exclusive to Christopher Newport.
- Luter School of Business: The Luter School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) – a distinction shared by only 5 percent of business schools in the world. Its prestige is a testament to how competitive and distinguished it is. The school focuses on four specific majors: accounting, finance, marketing and management. These programs have been carefully honed to ensure the best possible education for its students. With an emphasis on real-world experience, students are given the tools needed to smoothly transition into the workforce towards financial success after graduation. In addition, the Luter Signature Program offers workshops to aid in assuring you have a competitive advantage over others when vying for a work position.
- Honors Program: This program greatly enhances your education by creating connections through interdisciplinary seminars as opposed to the standard liberal learning foundation requirements. As an honors student, you have a much more flexible curriculum that can be molded to your specific educational needs. Similar to PLP, members of the Honors Program are highly encouraged to be active in the community through volunteer work, as well as experiment with a study abroad trip. Scholarship money can also be granted! The coursework can certainly be challenging, but it’s all to prepare you for an incredible life post-graduation.
I chose to come to Christopher Newport because of the small class sizes, and one of the many reasons I will stay here is because of how much our professors care about us. Today, I want to share a story about a professor I had here who went above and beyond what I could have expected from him.
Last semester, I took a public speaking course, as part of my communication major. We prepared three speeches throughout the semester, and each speech was built from the former and was centered around a topic of our choice, but it had to be something we found important and relevant to our lives. As someone who pays for his education independently, I centered my speeches on advocating for governmental student loan availability for people in my situation.
Throughout my speeches, I revealed a lot about my financial life and mentioned how finding the loans to cover the cost of attendance is difficult, no matter what university you attend. After I gave my speech, my professor approached me and expressed how sorry he was about my situation and told me he would do anything he could to help.
My professor told me something that really stuck with me during this time: “There is no reason that anyone should be denied an education because they can’t afford it.” My professor told my story to Paul Trible, the president of our university, and within a few days, I was informed that I had received a grant to cover the rest of my balance.
I have never been to a more caring place than Christopher Newport. Every professor, student and employee on this campus cares about your physical, mental, emotional and even financial well-being. And it goes without saying that President Trible is without a doubt the most involved and caring university president you will ever encounter. I have told this story to my friends who go to other universities in Virginia, and not only are they shocked that this happened, but their response was: “I don’t even know who our [university’s] president is.”
Christopher Newport offers so many freedoms to its students. I reminisce on my high school days and how little flexibility my academic schedule had. School started at 7:40 a.m. and it ended at 2:15 p.m. Following which, I’d immediately go to lacrosse or wrestling practice, depending on the season. My other clubs and commitments would interfere with my practice time, and so it was always one or the other. It wasn’t until senior year, when I quit sports, that my schedule finally had some maneuverability for me to choose more activities to be involved in. At Christopher Newport, my schedule is always wide open.
Though, that isn’t to say there’s nothing to do. There is certainly plenty to do, more options and opportunities than any one person could take advantage of. I’m just amazed at all the time I have for everything. I’m able to go to all of my classes, office hours, clubs, volunteer, study, work, spend time with friends and, surprisingly, get a decent amount of sleep every night. Though, I believe my magnum opus of scheduling is, how I have no classes on Friday.
That’s right, it’s a three-day weekend, every weekend. And oh man, it’s sweet. A lot of my friends scheduled their classes the same way, and a few others scheduled theirs so they wouldn’t have class on Tuesdays or Thursdays. This type of scheduling is common here! We’re a small school, but there’s still so many classes to choose from that it’s easy to switch things around like that!
Every day at Christopher Newport is something new. I go to class and learn something new. I go to my extracurriculars and create new things for myself and my peers. I see my friends and have new laughs. I love all the freedom I have to explore and try new things, having Fridays off is just a bonus!
Tuesdays and Thursdays are my long days during the week. I have back to back to back classes from 3 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. While the classes are all great, I’d be lying if I said they don’t run a little long, sitting in a desk for four hours. It’s odd to remember that just a few years ago, I was in high school every single day for seven hours. Anecdotes aside, the walk home after my last class felt more long and toilsome than any of my classes that day combined.
In hindsight, I should have seen it coming. The warning signs were all there. The weather forecasts warned of some serious rain coming to Newport News, but I didn’t catch exactly when. Another warning sign was when my friend came to class saying she was “definitely getting a ride home from leadership class.” Regardless of all these signs, I didn’t put the pieces together. When I left my last class of the day, and I walked out of McMurran, I was shocked to be welcomed with a gigantic rain storm. It was definitely the wrong day to wear flip flops.
I began trudging through the rain, my flip flops smacking and splashing all the way. I think the rain added 10 minutes to my normal walk time. When I finally arrived to my house on East Campus, I was dripping wet. I quickly changed and hopped into the shower. When I came out, I sat with my roommates, who had an equally tumultuous trip home, and we laughed about it. In warm clothes, we all relaxed together and talked about our plans for fall break.
I definitely could have gone without the rain that night, but it’s always so comforting coming back to my house and seeing all of my housemates. They’re always there to hang out and laugh with, even after a stormy night.
Today, I played tag in class. Yes, in a 200-level college class, I played tag. And I loved it. It was in my theater class, and it was an exercise to help us get comfortable with the space as we ran lines for some scenes we were working on. The lengths Christopher Newport professors go to engage their students never ceases to amaze me.
It’s not just my theater class, plenty of my professors design their curriculums around fun and worthwhile activities that get us out of our seats. For example, in my leadership class last year, my professor would put us into groups every few weeks and we would have to solve a puzzling situation or be forced to make hard decisions that directly applied to the coursework we were learning. It was so much fun to be removed from the traditional learning atmosphere and discover the implications of our findings firsthand. It’s an alternative style of learning, much more entertaining than a simple lecture.
Lectures are a necessary evil. No matter the class, there will likely always be a fair amount of lecturing. And that’s OK. Christopher Newport faculty lecture just as any other professor would. Though, what they do differently is they also ensure that there is more to the class. There’s always more than just sitting and taking notes. Group projects can be a pain, but at least they inspire collaboration and creativity among peers. Professors at CNU engage us, they want us to apply what we learn and explore the subject in a different way than just lecturing.
Everyday at Christopher Newport, I’m always excited to go to class. I’ve had my share of “boring” classes in high school, and I haven’t had anything close to those experiences now that I’m at Christopher Newport.
The other day, in argumentation class, my professor brought up an interesting thought. We discussed how advertising is everywhere, and we advertise without even knowing it. She gave the example of how most all of our shirts were branded or had some sort of location or such on them. Then, she asked how many of us owned more than three Christopher Newport articles of clothing. Nearly everyone raised their hand.
We all went around and shared our favorite Christopher Newport pieces that we own, everything from bobbleheads to posters to sweatpants. It makes sense that we all have loads of Christopher Newport gear, I mean, we’re all students here. Though, I realized that there was something more at work. Not only does everyone wear and display their Christopher Newport merchandise, but they cherish it. And yes, as my argumentation professor noted, it’s technically all advertising, but to us these pieces are so much more than that; they’re memories.
One day, we’ll all be graduated and onto the next phase of our lives. The mementos we save, even if it is just a shirt, are something that we can always look back on to reminisce about our time at this university. We’re proud to be Captains and we’ll never forget the amazing experience we shared together during our years here. It may be a little silly to sound so sentimental over a shirt, but I’m glad that my school is so passionate. It proves to me that Christopher Newport is more than four years; it’s a lifetime.
College is a time to grow as an individual and seek out new avenues to explore. Coming to Christopher Newport, I knew there were many things I wanted to pursue and discover about myself, but I was determined to also bring with me my commitment to violin. I have been playing violin since the fifth grade and was incredibly worried about how I could continue throughout college if I was not a music major. Orchestra in high school had given me such a passion for violin, I didn’t want to leave those experiences behind. When I went through orientation I expressed my concerns with my crew leader and she instantly found me the contact information for the Music Department.
I emailed them and was happy to find my answer the very next day: non-music majors are welcome to join the orchestra! I could take the class as a creative expressions credit that would contribute to my liberal arts learning and I would just audition to determine seating arrangements. The Music Department was so welcoming and immensely helpful when it came time to the auditions. I was a little nervous because I had never played with such experienced musicians, but they eased my worries by informing me that all levels are welcome and the audition is just for placement purposes.
As a sophomore this year, my schedule conflicted with when the orchestra classes were offered, sadly meaning I could not partake in orchestra this year. Once more I notified the department of this disappointment and they offered me the opportunity to join a student-led quartet. This is so wonderful because now I can continue the joys of playing with my peers while also maintaining my current schedule for this year.
I love playing as an ensemble and I am so grateful for the opportunities the Music Department has offered me here. Regardless of schedule, major, or level, all musicians are welcome at Christopher Newport. I highly encourage you, music related or not, to bring the passions unique to you, because Captains were made to inspire.
During the beginning of the fall semester, before it gets too chilly out, the fall farmers market is held from 3 – 6 p.m., each Thursday. The market is a student favorite on campus, and is the fun event that many of us look forward to each week.
Just two semesters ago, current farmers market president and my friend, Caroline, was a member of the Green Team, the environmental sustainability organization where the farmers market originated. It took only a couple of weeks for Caroline to realize that the market would have greater potential if it separated from the Green Team and became its own organization with more manpower. As Christopher Newport makes it relatively easy for a student to start a new organization, Caroline was able to create the farmers market at Christopher Newport as its own entity.
Caroline, and the dedicated team of the farmers market, are doing an excellent job of bringing in better vendors from the local community and introducing different activities that students get excited about. Artisan wood-fired pizza is made fresh each market. Puerto Rican food is sold from the new food truck. Everyone’s favorite, kettle corn, tastes as delicious as it smells. I have a secret soft spot for the sweet treats sold by local bakers and enjoy looking at the offerings of fresh salsas, vegetables, honey and sauces, and cute little houseplants. Students have the ability to sell their own crafts and perform at the market, too! $5 yoga classes are another new addition to the market this year that I think is super neat.
No one wants to see the fall market season coming to an end, but there is still one more market to look forward to, and I will definitely not miss it!