Marketing and Communications intern Rachel Stevens, seen on the right, describes living on campus and experiencing all that Catholic University has to offer.
As a junior media and communications major and theology minor here at Catholic University, I’ve had three wonderful years so far exploring, learning, and engaging with my surroundings. Reflecting back on my decision to go here, I know that being part of this historic and beautiful community has afforded me some of my favorite life memories.
The campus at CatholicU was an attractive quality when I was applying to college. Our campus is 176 acres, which is the largest private land ownership in Washington, D.C. It’s hard to miss us with a massive, beaming basilica on the edge of campus.
Studying at Catholic University has been an incredible opportunity for spiritual growth. I always have a place to go to Mass and adoration, sometimes even 20 feet from my dorm.
I always feel safe on campus with an abundance of public safety officers and friendly faces. My on-campus apartment in Millennium North/South has been great to help me be more independent while still participating regularly in residence life activities. We have a kitchen and cozy living room we’ve decorated with fluffy pillows, candles and plants, a bean-bag chair, and a Wii to have Mario Kart tournaments in our free time.
As an aspiring journalist, I wrote for The Tower student newspaper on campus for three years, had an internship with the University photographer, and now I’m writing for the CatholicU website through my internship at the communications office located in historic Father O’Connell Hall, a building that looks like it belongs in a Harry Potter novel.
It has been exciting to photograph and write about student life. Events and campus life are full of energy, laughter, and friends enjoying one another’s company. If I’m not interviewing someone with pen and paper at the office, I’m sitting on the patio furniture outside the Pryz or maybe on the stone risers at the Centennial Village fountain observing student life and recording what I can. Through the lens of my camera and writing, I’ve been able to capture those moments to show my love of this place I call home.
Working at the Office of Campus Activities my sophomore year as an events and marketing lead, I learned that I loved being a part of the Catholic University culture, especially the events that happen regularly.
My favorite event that happens at the beginning of each year is Capital Fest. It’s a free concert in the McMahon Parking Lot usually with a well-known headliner. This year we had Jesse McCartney, and my inner 12-year-old was incredibly happy about it.
Food trucks line the parking lot and the smell of Swizzlr hot dogs fills the air as students line up down the sidewalks and enter the concert dressed up and dancing. Everyone has a beaming smile at Capital Fest, because what’s better than food trucks and a free concert? Program board spends all day setting up the stage, lights, and sound at the heart of campus. The payoff is a huge turnout and unforgettable memories.
Another event I love to take part in every year is Halloween on campus. Hosted by Campus Ministry, members from our surrounding community bring their kids to trick-or-treat, do crafts, and jump on a moon bounce. It’s fun for us as students to dress in costumes and serve the families of this community by providing an exciting, safe, and free Halloween activity for their children.
Around Christmas time, we have an annual tree lighting out front of McMahon Hall. It’s a massive evergreen tree decorated with white lights. We all hope Gus Garvey, President John Garvey’s dog and our beloved second University mascot, makes an appearance. Garvey gives remarks, our Chaplain Father Jude leads a prayer, and we sing Christmas carols.
The students set up an amazing Christmas village in Centennial Village where we decorate Christmas cookies, skate on a fake ice rink, and even take horse-drawn carriage rides around campus. If we’re lucky, there’s snow dusting the basketball court where everything is set up. Everyone goes crazy during the first snowfall of the season!
To close off the year, we have our beloved Cardinal Palooza. With carnival rides, games, and food, the last day of classes go out in style. Students will stand in line hours before the event for a chance to grab the coveted free Cardinal Palooza T-shirt.
Even when there are no big events happening on campus, being right next to a Metro stop has made my time spent exploring the city easy. We’re three stops from Union Station and the U.S. Capitol and only eight stops from the Smithsonian station on the mall, which leads directly to the museums and monuments.
Aside from the many local monuments and museums, I love exploring the rest of the city. My favorite spot to spend time off campus is the neighborhood of Georgetown. There are so many beautiful, historical houses. The restaurants, festivals, music, and waterfront are the perfect group getaway without having to stray too far from campus.
Washington, D.C., is a vibrant, growing city and I’m glad that I get to experience it from my campus home at Catholic University. The green space, beautiful buildings and study spaces, and fun, free events are a perfect supplement to my education. I am sad to be leaving in just one short year, but I know that my time spent at Catholic University has prepared me well for my future!