By: Michelle Wheatley
People often talk around here about the “GU Community.” It’s part of what makes us distinct, special, and appealing. Visitors pick up on the vibe, students cherish the atmosphere, and alums find ways to stay connected for life. The Community is the essence of who we are at Gonzaga.
This Community will come to life again shortly when students flood the campus, either returning to studies or joining us for the first time. For some, this transition happens smoothly, and Gonzaga quickly becomes another “home.” But for many students, the famed yet elusive “GU Community” remains harder to grasp.
It’s normal for students to undergo homesickness as they adjust to life at Gonzaga. It takes time for relationships to form and belonging to set in. We recommend to students that they get involved in opportunities outside of the classroom as a way to both enhance their education and expand their engagement in the Community. Part of the uniqueness of Gonzaga is its holistic commitment to students in every area of their development. Thus, there are countless opportunities available on campus for students to meet new people, discover their passions, extend themselves in service, and grow in faith.
I happen to work in the University Ministry department, whose role is to serve the spiritual and faith development of students in a dynamic and relevant way. Everything we offer is designed to help students learn the art of being in relationship-with others, self, and God. I’m convinced that part of the strength of the GU Community is the commitment that students make each year to this art—to openness and dialogue, to knowing and being known, to self-transcendence, to service and generosity, to discernment and discovery, and to deep sharing. These are skills that leave a lasting impression on this place but also accompany them into their adult lives. They are at the core of who we hope our students become, and they are what we try to practice here as a model for healthy “Community.”
Stay tuned for more information about University Ministry, as well as countless other campus opportunities, but know in the meantime that our campus is full of people who are ready and waiting to help students dive into and belong in the “GU Community.”