It’s the time of year where we get to watch our seniors prepare for the real world, and we also learn the fresh new faces who will join our campus as first year students. Every single person at Chestnut Hill College makes an impact, and it is so exciting to watch the campus grow every single year. We’ll miss you seniors!

 

Freshmen: Welcome to the family.

 

 

BigGriff

CHC STUDENT: JOE MULLIN

 

MAJOR: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS, LANGUAGE & CULTURE

 

ACTIVITIES: BASEBALL

 

Through the help of Sister Mary Helen Kashuba, and Professor Barbara Diemer, I was able to study in Bonn, Germany this past summer. I was fortunate enough to have been in the Renewable Energy: Policy and Development program at the University of Bonn. The program enriched me in German culture, seeing cities such as Berlin, Aachen, Potsdam, Hamburg, and Cologne. To further educate us on Germany’s seemingly endless history, I was provided with visitations to historic sites, such as the Berlin Wall, Frederick the Great’s Sanssouci Palace, the canals of Hamburg, and much more. The program was centered on Germany’s advancement in the field of renewable energies, and it became apparent to me that they most definitely lead by example. I was able to visit windmill centers, biomass farms, and geothermal energy sites and was given a rigorous education on the efficiency of Germany’s renewable programs. The trip even took us to the European Union center in Brussels, Belgium to discuss policies regarding this field. In a matter of six weeks, I learned more about the German language and culture than I ever could have possibly imagined. My biggest hope is that I am fortunate enough, one day, to return to Germany and do it all over again.

Chestnut Hill College is a place that makes it easy to accomplish your dreams. For me, my dream has been to save the world by providing a basic education to those who don’t have the resources to receive one. I know it seems a little idealistic, but in high school I started working towards this goal as a freshman, attached to the organization Unified for Uganda (U4U). As a student run organization, we provided primary and secondary education to 120 students in Gulu, Uganda. Coming into Chestnut Hill as a freshman in 2010, I was able to expand the organization and took on the task of sponsoring six students. It cost $300 a year, which pays for tuition, one meal at school, and two uniforms. The students we sponsor are picked based on need. We have four Ugandan mentors to make these selections and look after our kids in school as well as at home. They do this by visiting their homes and talking with their guardians to get them involved in the child’s plan for success. It is the biggest blessing of my life to be a part of this organization and to have had the opportunity to share it with the CHC community.

This past summer I was lucky enough to go visit Gulu and the children we sponsor, along with two other CHC students who are heavily involved in the club on campus. While there, we immersed ourselves in the culture, learning their language, their customs, and their traditions. It is so different in every way possible from the United States. It is simple living, slow paced, and community oriented. When you talk with someone, you hold their hand as the conversation continues. There is this human connection that I experienced within one day of meeting someone that would take months to create in the US. They have no distractions from one another, they simply just have each other. Although it is sad at times to see people struggling, the beauty in the fact that they call everyone mother, father, sister, brother is what makes these people so resilient in hard times. As I walked with one of our kids to the borehole to fetch water, I called out to a woman in the village to say hello and tell her she was beautiful; Illenge (e-lang). On the way back, she met us on the dirt path with a bag of mangos. I was carrying a jerry-can full of water on my head and she hugged me and called me her daughter. I was speechless. If this happened in the US, you would be alarmed if a stranger was trying to give you something and was calling you her daughter- but for the Acholi culture, they understand the importance of relationships. This woman was so impressed that I had learned part of her language, enough to accept me into her family as her daughter. It was a chilling moment and one that makes my heart sing with the love I experienced in Gulu. Her name is Alice and she is my mother.

As the two weeks went by, I had many more encounters like that first one. A woman trusted me to carry her newly born baby tied to my back as we walked for 2 hours into the village, Pece. She shared with me stories of when she couldn’t walk safely on the road due to the war, or the time when one of the rebels was going to rape her so she lied to him and told him she had HIV so he would leave her alone. She is one of the strongest women I know and I carry her in my heart, as well as her sweet baby Abitimo, with me every day. Her name is Shelia, she is my sister.

While in Pece, a student in our program stayed with us, as well as a dozen other kids. For some reason she latched onto me and I latched to her. She is four years old and she is still learning English in school so we couldn’t communicate that much with words but it didn’t matter. Her sweet little hand wrapped around my three fingers as we ran, played, danced, and laughed. She taught me her songs she had learned in school and I taught her songs I learned as a child like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and the “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Later that night as we all sat around the kerosene lamp, she snuggled on my lap and fell asleep. I wondered what she would dream about, after our day full of laughter, knowing I wouldn’t need to dream that night because I was living my dream! Her name is Prisca and she is my daughter.

Chestnut Hill College makes it impossible not to fulfill your dreams. If you don’t know what your dreams are, Chestnut Hill gives you so many avenues to explore every option. No dream is too big or too crazy. Who knows, maybe one day you could save the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Kelly, ’14

College = 4 years of hard work, fun, procrastination, difficulties, triumphs, and friendships. Although I’ll be starting my Junior year in a few weeks, I can still remember my first day of college like it was yesterday. Packing up my room the night before move in day (I had already mastered the procrastination part) was definitely a bitter sweet moment for me. I remember driving up to Philly in my mom’s minivan with all my stuff in the trunk, and it was probably the most nerve-wracking car ride I have ever experienced. Those 50 minutes of thinking and wondering what college/orientation was going to be like felt more like 5 hours. When we got to school, it was unbelievable how nice and welcoming everyone was! It was so nice to see the orientation leaders and student athletes help us all bring our piles and piles of stuff up 3 flights of stairs (especially because it was August and my residence hall didn’t have air conditioning). When I opened my door to my new “home” I instantly knew this is where I belonged. After all my belongings were unpacked and in their place, two orientation leaders came into my room to tell me and my parents that they had to cancel orientation because of Hurricane Irene.

After I heard those words, it took a minute for it to sink in. I had to go home after just moving into college? The look on my mom’s face was priceless; it was a cross between excitement and annoyance. It was difficult, but we all knew that safety was the most important thing. So we packed an overnight bag (my first one in college) and we headed home. The shock on my sister’s face when I walked through the front door was almost as priceless as my mom’s when we were told all first year students had to go home.

I did not get a chance to have my orientation here at Chestnut Hill College, and that was difficult as a first year student. Orientation is where you will meet so many new people and bond with them about journey that you are all about to start. Even though my class did not have an orientation, we still bonded together as first year students. Not having an orientation has made me realize just how important it is. In college, you make life-long friendships and learn so much; all starting with orientation. The orientation leaders are really the ones who make this first week of school exciting. That was one of the reasons I became an orientation leader. I wanted to have the opportunity to help a first year student who was nervous about college and being away from home for the first time – because that was me 2 years ago. The orientation leaders know what it’s like to come into a new place and have to adapt, meet new people and sometimes live with someone completely new. They are great role models that have life stories and college advice to share. Becoming an orientation leader has been one of the best experiences in my college career. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to spend my summer with.  (These are the life-long friendships made in college!)  So any first year student reading this, get ready for the best 4 years of your life! And remember, college is what you make of it, so study hard but enjoy this experience, because it flies by! See you soon, Class of 2017!

- Christina