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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

The Gonzaga brotherhood extends beyond the DMV

Gonzaga Fest Celebrations

What is a brotherhood? Is it solely a familial relationship between two boys? Is it a group of close friends? The Gonzaga experience will give a young man the opportunity to experience what true brotherhood is: the feeling of being able to rely on each other no matter what, a strong connection between those who may have never even met before and that sense of connectivity with men who may have graduated before you were even born. The Gonzaga experience creates such a strong sense of pride for the purple and white. 

Gonzaga advertises its ability to create such an environment between its current students and its alumni. Many question how true this really is, mostly people from other institutions who will never be able to experience the bond Gonzaga creates. While simply attending the school is fantastic and we are blessed with an amazing education, it is not the “school” aspect of Gonzaga that creates this feeling, but it is what occurs outside of the classroom. For example, it may entail attending a sporting event, which is so hyped up by the student  body and its beloved booster club encouraging nearly a thousand screaming Gonzaga voices to cheer and come together to support their classmates in their athletic endeavors. It may also entail rivalry weekends, like the rallying “Beat St. John’s” movement, where students come together to fight the common enemy of the school; rivalries like this are still celebrated by alumni decades after their departure. 

While sporting events and pep rallies are fantastic for creating such an environment, whether you like sports or not, the spiritual side is essential to creating the brotherhood, as well. The retreats that Gonzaga students are encouraged to attend almost every year are so important for creating depth to this brotherhood. Freshman retreat is where students begin to get to know each other on a deeper level than just their name, their sport and their hobbies. On sophomore retreat, students build a sense of spiritual community, and it is where the Gonzaga experience builds and eventually comes to fruition at the esteemed Kairos retreat. While the secrecy of Kairos scares some people off from the idea, the experience of the Kairos retreat is truly life-changing and helps to fully solidify that love for one another, through both people on your retreat and people who have already been. 

The Gonzaga brotherhood will affect my life until the day I die, from applying to jobs and being almost guaranteed a position if my employer is also a graduate to showing the sense of that purple mafia across not only the entire country, but across the entire world. 

This fall, the Gonzaga soccer team  traveled to Denver to play in the Jesuit Classic soccer tournament. While we were there, we met this older gentlemen who came to watch our game. He shook Coach Scott Waller’s hand and introduced himself. It was not until we saw the name tag he decided to wear that displayed his name and “Gonzaga ‘54” that we realized he was an alum. Even  halfway across the country, we had Gonzaga alums taking the time out of their day to support Gonzaga; this alum watched a soccer game, introduced himself and sang the Alma Mater with us before we left. He showed me  how the Gonzaga brotherhood spans across generations, extending beyond my graduating class. The purple mafia exists everywhere; it is almost inescapable, no matter how hard you try. 

I am excited to join the other side of it in a few weeks, and I hope the next generations of Gonzaga men will continue to perpetuate the Gonzaga brotherhood for many years to come. 

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    Pam ValeirasMay 23, 2022 at 7:42 am

    Cool article! Great descriptions and examples. My sons (’10, ’11, & ’14) have all experienced this. They still “bleed purple”! Have a great summer!