Campus Dining and Food Allergies

As a freshman, my gluten intolerance was a little bit daunting. I had no idea if I would be able to eat at every restaurant and dining hall or whether I would need an accommodation.

Looking back as a junior, I have no idea why I was even nervous! Being a student on campus with a food allergy has been a bit of a learning curve, but the Christopher Newport community  made everything much easier on me. Each station in the dining hall is clearly labeled with gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options. Plus, the navigator app allows me the ability to see what is going to be the best option for me in each dining hall with their menu tabs.

Now, I am able to grab my weekly (gluten free) custom Chick-fil-A sandwich from the staff who know me by name! I know exactly who to talk to when I have questions. I feel so blessed to have the freedom to eat in dining halls and restaurants on campus whenever I please and know that there will be options for me.

Some of you may not think this is a largely important concept, being able to have allergy friendly options. For those of you with allergies, you know better than most how stressful it can be to travel or live somewhere where you can’t eat what everyone else can. It can be extremely isolating and embarrassing. I feel normal on this campus in this way and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Grocery Shopping is a Breeze

When I was touring college campuses with my mom and dad, we were looking for a school that had a strong academic focus, comfortable living facilities and a sense of community. Christopher Newport certainly met those criteria. Another checkbox that Christopher Newport checked off is the campus’s proximity to grocery stores. The convenience of having a grocery store right around the corner comes in handy for upperclassmen who can lower their meal plans and cook in fully equipped kitchens in their apartments. Now that I have been living on campus for four years, I am grateful that I have easy access to food, especially for my late night munchies.

Within walking distance of main campus, approximately a five-minute walk, is both Harris Teeter and Food Lion. Food Lion is perfect for averagely priced food items and snacks. I tend to shop there when I am trying to save money. Harris Teeter, while more expensive, is a popular place for Christopher Newport students to shop for groceries, especially since it is open 24 hours a day. One night a year they hold a College Night when half of the store is on a huge clearance and there is a DJ playing music just for us Captains! Harris Teeter also has a college rewards program that is super easy to sign up for, and you get a small discount off of every purchase.

For those students who have a car on campus, just down the road is both a Lidl and an Aldi. Their produce is fresh, as are their meats, and their prices are outstanding. Even Walmart could not beat their prices! I buy all of my meat from Lidl and too often find myself buying from their bakery or buying imported chocolate from Europe. Very delicious! With so many groceries stores around campus, you are sure to find all of the food you need, without any hassle.

It’s great to have all these options so close by, but it’s also comforting to know that our great dining halls are never more than a five-minute walk away!

RAs Who Do More

Resident assistants (RAs) are a big part of any college campus. If you’re unfamiliar, they’re fellow students who live in your residence hall and ensure that students are healthy and upholding university standards. The RAs at Christopher Newport go above and beyond to ensure everyone on campus is safe and happy.

RAs at Christopher Newport are a part of the Residence Hall Association (RHA). This student organization is open for anyone to join, not just RAs. They host fun events on campus every semester. Last year, they had a tie-dye event where any student could come and dye a shirt for free! It was an absolute blast (and I still wear the shirt I made). This year, they’ve been working with Student Assembly to hold a town hall meeting where any student can come and express their thoughts on the idea of introducing gender-neutral housing on campus.

Personally, the RAs I’ve had have always added a very sweet and personal touch to their work. They always smile and say hello to me. They also host events for the hall, like movie nights. It’s a great way to destress and relax with your hallmates. They’re a lot more than your friend though, they also can help you with any questions you have (like registration, extracurriculars or just about anything else). Our RAs do more, and that’s what makes them so special.

Friends of Phi Nu

As a freshman, I wanted to grow as much as possible. I sought programs, classes and extracurriculars in which I could improve myself and create a positive, lasting impact on those around me. Among clubs and other student organizations, I was also very interested in Greek life. After careful consideration, I became a brother of Psi Upsilon.

One of the programs of Psi Upsilon that really excited me is a mentorship program that partners with Hidenwood Elementary in Newport News. Brothers are assigned a child in the school and we work together throughout the year to ensure the child’s academic and social success. Many touching and substantial relationships are built. Every brother’s experience with the program has been positive, and they say they couldn’t imagine having never had the opportunity. Recently, I was assigned my child at Hidenwood Elementary. I plan on making my first visit very soon and meeting him!

Fraternities aren’t just about partying at Christopher Newport. Every Greek organization on campus does amazing philanthropy work and we all help to leave a positive mark on Christopher Newport. Lately, I’ve been getting involved in a lot of service opportunities and it’s so exciting! Friends of Phi Nu is an incredible program and I’m so excited to become a part of it.

Steeped in Tradition

Christopher Newport University was founded in 1960. Originally, the college was mostly for commuting students, but as it grew in size and popularity, it became the full-fledged university it is today. Although we are a relatively young college compared to some other Virginia institutions, our educational experience here is deeply rooted in tradition.

You’ll hear all about if you take one of our famous on-campus tours with our student ambassadors. Door-holding is a big one that is emphasized. We care about each other – you’re never too busy to stop for a few seconds and hold a door for someone. It sounds obvious, but after a year and a half of going to Christopher Newport, it’s honestly strange when, off campus, someone doesn’t hold a door for me! We also have our penny and bell traditions. At freshman convocation, you receive a penny that you keep until graduation, which you then toss into a fountain. It’s symbolic of the honor code we live by each and every day as a Captain. Similarly, you ring the Christopher Newport bell after convocation and then again at graduation. These are small things, but, to us, they’re significant. They’re indicative of a higher purpose; we’re not just college students, we’re Christopher Newport students – and that’s special.

I believe the most important tradition we uphold at Christopher Newport is being a community. We’re all in this together, and Christopher Newport isn’t Christopher Newport unless we, as a student body and faculty, all give our 100 percent to one another. We hold doors, we talk in line at the dining hall, we walk to class together; basically, we’re there for each other. I’m so happy to be a part of such a loving, vibrant college and community that is so fulfilling for myself and my peers.

University Chorale’s First Concert

The University Chorale is the newest choral group on campus, as we are a combination of the men’s and women’s choir. This is the first iteration of the ensemble, and on the 100th anniversary of the armistice, Sunday, November 11 – Veterans Day – we had our first concert ever. It was magical.


We pulled out all the stops and knocked it out of the park. We performed two pieces, which doesn’t sound like a lot but get this: both pieces were over 20 minutes long. Yes, you read that right. 20 minutes.

The first piece was called “Jephthe” and told the story of a general who made a vow to God that if his army could win the war, he would sacrifice the first thing he sees when he gets home. Unfortunately for him, the first thing he sees when he gets home is his own daughter. They both weep together, and his daughter says that she will sacrifice herself to save the people. She goes up to the mountains and is never seen again. The war is over, yet all the people mourn her loss.

It’s a very powerful piece. The choir had some choreographed movements throughout the song, symbolizing the fighting armies by standing in three lines facing each other and stomping to the beat, then while on the risers, we all separated so that the female soloist (playing the role of the daughter of Jephthe) could ascend the proverbial mountain, and we all sang to her. Finally, after her sacrifice, the choir (acting as the mountain) closed in on her and sang a song of sorrow.

The second piece was called “A Procession Winding Around Me” which is a collection of poems by Walt Whitman from the Civil War. The piece had four movements: “By the Bivouac’s fitful flame,” which explores the fear and anticipation of warfare, “Beat! Beat! Drums!” which shows the panic and chaos of battle, “ Look Down Fair Moon,” a short, sad song about the disastrous consequences, and “Reconciliation,” which is about coming to terms with that which passed.

The concert was absolutely beautiful, and I am so proud to be a member of the University Chorale and a student of this wonderful university.

The Life of a Senior

Senior year of college is not like senior year of high school. It’s no walk in the park. Having said that, senior year means that my journey at Christopher Newport is coming to an end and I have to overcome that final hurdle to make it all the way through. This hurdle of senior year, while challenging, has so far been very rewarding and has taught me how to better manage my time and set strict goals for myself. My senior year is preparing me well for my future.

As a business administration major with a concentration in marketing, my senior year consists of many upper-level courses in business and marketing. This means that group projects are a constant, tests count as a larger part of my final grade, and papers are now longer than they have ever been before. But do not fret! All of this can be managed if you are careful in planning out your schedule. Personally, writing down every detail of the day that I must complete in my planner is most helpful, while others heavily rely on Google Calendar which is accessible anywhere via phone or computer. No matter your preference, come to college with organization in mind.

Christopher Newport and its faculty are also here to help you along the way because they want to see you succeed. You are not climbing this mountain alone! If you and your group are not seeing eye to eye, your professors would be happy to give advice during office hours. My group once received extra credit just for coming to our professor’s office hours!

For papers, Christopher Newport professors can provide their students access to Grammarly, a website that finds grammatical errors that Word might not detect. It is also a great idea to use the student employees at the Christopher Newport Center for Academic Success, who are there to help you edit and formalize your papers! The new addition to the library and online databases are also a huge help if you need to research for essays, projects or assignments. With all of the academic resources at Christopher Newport, my senior year has been difficult, but completely manageable.

A Different Kind of Spring Break

Normally when we think of spring break, we think of beaches and partying. That’s all well and good, but Christopher Newport offers a few alternatives which are extraordinary opportunities.

I noticed the first opportunity in the weekly President’s Leadership Program (PLP) newsletter. Through the REACH service organization, Captains have the chance to apply for a service trip to Virginia or South Carolina for spring break. There were a few different ones offered, each catering to a specific area of interest. I found myself drawn to a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, where I’d be helping underprivileged children. It sounded like a great chance in which I could not only teach, but learn alongside these children and my fellow peers.

Yesterday, I was very happy to learn my application was accepted! As I was expressing my excitement to my friends, one of them informed me he had actually also applied to a service trip in the Dominican Republic for spring break! He hasn’t heard back yet, but he will soon and I’m hoping he gets it.

I never would have thought I’d have an opportunity like this. Service is one of our core values at Christopher Newport. Everyone pitches in here. I’ve met another person who will be coming on the trip and her passion for what’s ahead has only increased my excitement. I can’t wait for spring break!

Registration: A Horror Movie

It’s 6:59 a.m., my eyelids are heavy with sleep, my heart is beating fast, blood rushing with anxiety, but on the outside, I just look like a mess in my pajamas sitting in my bed with my laptop in front of me because it’s time to register.

The clock strikes 7. Fingers furiously fly on the keyboard to enter the course registration numbers; 8114, 8995, 9231, 8805, 8217, 8849, 8197. I submit as quickly as I can, the anxiety almost boiling over. Seven classes. It’s too late to go back now. (It’s not but I already registered and would have to do some extra clicking to undo it and that’s just a lot of work).

OK, maybe that was a bit overdramatic, but no matter what college you go to, registration can be stressful. The hardest part for me was waking up on time because I’m the type of person who likes to sleep in until noon, but I was able to get up on time for this registration period and I’m really happy about that.

Something that I really love about Christopher Newport is that for your first semester you don’t have to register for classes. You will get placed into classes that best fit your interests and personalities based on results from a survey you will take when you get offered admission. My senior year of high school was really stressful, and some of my friends were studying for finals, AP tests, IB exams and they also had to worry about registering. I was able to get some sleep back then because I knew that my university would do that for me.

I loved my schedule my first semester here, but keep in mind that if there’s a class you get put into that doesn’t quite feel right, we have a two-week period for adding and dropping classes at the beginning of the semester, and there’s absolutely no penalty.

A Captain is cared for, even before your first semester begins.

A Performance to Remember

It’s been awhile since I was on stage for a theatrical performance. I haven’t taken the stage for a production since senior of high school; and, well, I still haven’t, but that’s OK! I’m just now really delving into the theater program at Christopher Newport, and last week my scene partner and I finally presented what we have been working on for the past month to my Broadway to Boardroom class.

The assignment was to take a scene from one of the plays we had read and then bring it to life. The class is generally for non-theater majors, so a lot of the students haven’t acted before. That adds such an engaging dynamic to the course because we’re all experiencing something very unique and new together. My scene partner didn’t have any prior acting experience, but she was actually a natural!

We rehearsed a few times every week and before we knew it, we were presenting our scene for the class. It went off without a hitch, and it felt great to be formally acting again, even if it’s just in a classroom setting. Normally, play rehearsals last about a month or so. To spend a month on one scene might sound like a slow pace, but it gave us so much time to perfect every little detail and ensure each action and line was deliberate and done with purpose.

Our professor gave us some feedback and now we all are getting ready for our final scene presentation in a few weeks. So far, the class has been a stupendous introductory course to what the theater program has to offer. A one scene presentation to a classroom of 15 may not sound like much, but it was definitely a performance I’ll never forget. I can’t wait to see what the last few weeks of the semester have in store, and, even better, to continue with the theater program next semester!