BY NICHOLAS DIGREGORY
Jacob Smith’s first interaction with a Franciscan University of Steubenville upperclassman came several months before he started his freshman year. Mark Daniel, a junior at the time, was spending Spring Break with a friend of Smith’s, and it was one of those evenings that Smith and Daniel met for the first time.
As they became acquainted, Daniel, a member of Conquer through Love household, told Smith that night, “You’re joining CTL.”
Smith, now the coordinator of the very household Daniel predicted he would join, insists that first experience helped shape his life at Franciscan University, even before he arrived as a freshman. And when he arrived, Daniel, then a senior, was there to welcome him.
“He was always available,” said Smith. “His presence was comforting, and he was always willing to give all that he had.”
Thanks to seniors like Daniel, many underclassmen have had similar experiences. Seniors at the university have provided a shining example of Christian maturity, often by simply living out their vocations as students joyfully.
And this year, more seniors than ever before have stayed on campus to provide leadership and example to their fellow students.
According to the Residence Life department, a record number of seniors have stayed in the residence halls this academic year. Currently, 228 seniors are in the residence halls of upper and lower campus (excluding Assisi Heights), a significant increase when compared to past years.
Recently, the Residence Life department conducted a survey in an attempt to understand why so many seniors decided to stay on campus this year. One hundred forty-one seniors responded to the survey. The top two factors that influenced seniors’ decisions to stay on campus were households and community life in the dorms.
Amy Seitz, the assistant director of Residence Life, helped to conduct the survey. She believes that this year’s strong presence of seniors on campus will be extremely beneficial to university life.
“Seniors on campus are able to set an example,” said Seitz. “They have a huge impact on community life by living out mature Christian womanhood and manhood in the halls and calling on their brothers and sisters.”
Many seniors are actively contributing to the impact that Seitz acknowledges. One such senior is Colleen Murphy, who serves her fellow students in a variety of ways, most especially as the household coordinator of Totus Tuus Maria.
“Living in the dorms and with household is such a unique opportunity that I’ll never have again,” said Murphy. “It’s challenging at times, and it forces me to continually give of myself, but that’s what makes it worthwhile. That’s the beauty of living in community.”
Thanks to seniors like Murphy and Daniel, there is a particular beauty to community life on campus. Although their actions may sometimes go unnoticed, there is no overlooking the tremendous impact these men and women have on the university.