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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

    Gonzaga modifies freshman retreat to meet pandemic regulations

    Gonzaga+Freshman+on+the+Buchanan+football+field+during+the+retreat.+%28Photo+via+https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gonzaga.org%2Fnews-detail%3Fpk%3D1406942%29
    Gonzaga Freshman on the Buchanan football field during the retreat. (Photo via https://www.gonzaga.org/news-detail?pk=1406942)

    On March 12 through the 14, the COVID-19 adjusted Gonzaga freshman retreat took place. Instead of having all freshmen attend its activities over the normal three-day period, the students were split up by cohort and went to their activities on their respective day. The Aloysius group on Friday, the Ignatius group on Saturday and Xavier on Sunday. 

    Known for the activities the students get to participate in, the 2021 retreat saw cutbacks, altered versions and relocations of the activities. For instance, the COVID-19 safety restrictions made the beloved concert depart from the schedule. 

    “[The performers] did not come back this year; there was sadly no concert,” said Jack Ronca, a senior and student leader. 

    An example of an adjusted activity was the movie night. Instead of having it in the Sheehy Theater, a zoom link was sent to the freshman and anyone else who wanted to watch. From the zoom, the participants watched it around 7 p.m. on Wednesday, a week before the retreat. 

    Each cohort experienced the same schedule for its retreat. In the morning, the student leaders arrived on campus at 8:30 a.m.  to 9 a.m., and the freshmen showed up at 10 a.m. The leaders did the usual “run in” on Eye Street, where they run around in crazy costumes and outfits to boost freshman energy. The opening ceremonies followed, and soon after the students broke out to have small group discussions. Then, Mass took place in the St. Aloysius church. 

    “It was actually the freshmen’s first time being in the Church. It was pretty exciting,” Ronca said. 

    The coordinators wanted to have the freshmen spent most of their time in the church, so most many activities were relocated into the church. 

    The faith and friendship portion of the retreat, where faculty either had zoom calls or came to campus to speak to freshmen, ensued after. The witness talks, held in the church, served as the closing to the 2021 retreat, which ended from 9:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

    “Even though things looked a little different this year, we managed to unite a family and ignite our faith,” Ronca said.

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