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A Tour Guide’s Guide to Holy Cross

From sharing experiences of their first year on campus to identifying the best food on The Hill, five current Holy Cross tour guides tell all
July 3rd, 2019 by 

A student leads a tour of campus
Matthew Cedeno '22 leads at campus tour on a bright summer afternoon. Photo by Avanell Brock

What should students expect in their first year at Holy Cross? How do students spend their free time? Is it true the College brings food trucks to campus? Five current Holy Cross tour guides — Caitlin Keaveny ’21, a psychology major; Fiona Boyle ’21, an economics major with a minor in art history; Matthew Cedeno ’22, who is undeclared; Caitlin Marple ’21, an economics and political science double major with a minor in peace and conflict studies; and Britt Axelson ’21, a theatre major — answer those questions and more.

Where’s your favorite place to bring people on campus and why?

Britt Axelson: I love to bring people to the theatre department hallway during the year. There is always a bustle of activity with students in the green room hanging out, professors coming and going between classes chatting with us and various shop workers or students around working on different projects. I love to show people how active and welcoming our community is.

Matthew Cedeno: My favorite place to bring people on campus is probably the Hoval because I usually get to discuss food truck Fridays and make a really corny dad joke about always having Ben & Jerry’s in my fridge.

Caitlin Keaveny: My favorite place to bring prospective students is the chapel. It is an extremely impressive and beautiful building and it also gives me an opportunity to talk about what it means to be a Jesuit school. In my first two years here, I’ve found that there is a huge emphasis on learning how to be successful both academically and morally.

 students hang out on Hoval

Students gather on the Hoval for Purple Pride Day. Photo by Tom Rettig

Can you tell me more about Montserrat and your first year on campus?

Caitlin Keaveny: Montserrat is our first-year program that provides an introduction to academics, social life and college life in general. It’s a small class made up of students who you stay with for the whole year. You get to choose from some really interesting courses, and lots of them involve off campus trips as well. My Montserrat was a history class about the founding fathers which also focused on modern social justice issues. It had a Community-Based Learning component, which means I got to volunteer with a local group in Worcester that helps children of immigrants. The class challenged me to do things outside of my comfort zone. It gave me lasting memories and relationships which I will continue to value well after my time here at Holy Cross.

Matthew Cedeno: I had a really positive experience with Montserrat. Both my roommates and professor as well as my classmates really helped me transition to life at Holy Cross quite seamlessly. My first year on campus was definitely a learning experience. Apart from being one thousand miles away from home, I had to balance my academics and athletics. I was fortunate enough to have had two great roommates who made the transition period much easier.

Britt Axelson: Montserrat was a great introductory class for starting out at Holy Cross. I got to know my professor very well and he helped me out a lot in office hours with our papers and advice for the upcoming years. My class was almost exclusively discussion-based, so my classmates and I got to know each other pretty quickly. It was my first time living without my family and I gained a great deal of independence. I really love living with a community right around me.

What’s your favorite class that you’ve taken so far?

Caitlin Marple: My favorite class has been American Government with Professor Greg Burnep. It was a class I shadowed as a prospective student and I took it the first semester of my first year. Professor Burnep was a thought-provoking lecturer that always knew how to tie current events and discussion into the class. He has been an amazing resource for me at the College.

Fiona Boyle: Most likely my Italian class. It was so fun that I decided to go abroad in Florence, Italy and continue learning the language.

Caitlin Keaveny: Research Methods, a course that all psychology majors are required to take. I liked it because we got to conduct our own research project using some of the strategies we learned in Statistics the previous semester. My professor was great and at the end of the year we got a chance to present our research to other students at a research colloquium. This summer, I am an intern at a pediatric neuroscience lab and getting the chance to apply some of the skills I learned in that course has been a really rewarding experience.

 students in class with professor

Daina Harvey, associate professor of sociology, leads a course exploring the creation and consumption of food called “Food, Beer, and the Environment.” Photo by Tom Rettig

What question do you hear most on tours? What’s your answer?

Matthew Cedeno: I am usually always asked how I manage being a student and an athlete on campus. I say that although it is by no means easy, the tight schedule helps me learn how to manage my time efficiently. There are also resources available to us like workshops and peer tutoring that help with the course load.

Caitlin Keaveny: Something that I get asked often is whether or not underclassmen can have cars on campus. Because of limited space, only upperclassmen can have cars, but Holy Cross provides transportation to lots of local places and you can use a van service to get to internships and volunteer sites. It was easy to get around without a car, and I rarely found myself missing it.

Fiona Boyle: People often ask where the majority of students are from. I usually say that a lot of students are from New England, but we do have students from almost all 50 states and international students, as well.

How’s the food on campus? What’s your favorite thing to order?

Fiona Boyle: We have great options for everyone here at Holy Cross. One of my favorite things to order is an iced coffee and a pumpkin muffin at Cool Beans.

Caitlin Marple: There are so many dining options on campus! My personal favorite is grilled cheese Wednesdays in Lower Kimball.

Matthew Cedeno: The D’Agostino Café is amazing. I love to order a hot naan with a side of mac and cheese.

 A student sits in front of Cool Beans

A student does work in front of Cool Beans. Photo by Tom Rettig

What do you do on the weekends?

Fiona Boyle: Usually on the weekends my friends and I will get some food or go into Boston to see a concert. Sometimes we will go to a sports game on campus, too.

Britt Axelson: On the weekends I’m either working on a show I’m helping to produce for the theatre department, playing at athletic events with the marching or pep band, doing my homework in a hammock in a shady place on campus, running or attending campus club events, or, you know, maybe just napping.

Caitlin Keaveny: My friends and I love to try out new restaurants in Worcester. The weekend is a great time to just relax and spend time with friends and teammates.

What makes Holy Cross unique?

Matthew Cedeno: Although it may sound cliché, what makes Holy Cross unique is that, as students, we’re encouraged to embrace what makes us unique personally and apply that to how we can best make a positive impact on our world.

Caitlin Marple: I think the accessibility of our Study Abroad program is the most unique thing about Holy Cross. There are so many different options to cater to different students’ desire for experiences. Between the year-long program, semester program, domestic program, and Maymester program, there is an option for every type of student. Beyond that, Holy Cross is ranked No. 1 among baccalaureate college for our year-long programs!

Britt Axelson: You’ll always see people on campus stopped in the middle of walkways or at a table in Cool Beans chatting midway to their destinations because you’re always running into people you want to check up on. I always say it takes me at least five minutes longer to get somewhere because I’ll keep running into people I know. Along with our community on campus, we have a very supportive alumni community. I have so many small world Holy Cross stories of running into people who somehow have a connection to the school and want to know how I am doing there. The people who are a part of our community want to reach out and support each other and I think that’s a pretty amazing thing.

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