By: Matthew Fowler, Staff Writer
Despite setbacks in recent years, Newman’s Student Life department is staffed up again and preparing for a year full of opportunities for Newman students to get involved, said Joshua Prilliman, Newman’s new director of student activities.
Following students’ return to campus from COVID-19, the Student Life department was struggling to operate with open positions, including the Dean of Students and the Director of Student Activities. Prilliman said that at times during the past year, the department “felt empty for a handful of months” because of the vacancies.
Maintaining Newman’s high standard of campus engagement with, at times, only one of the Student Life positions occupied was a formidable challenge, he said. Now that the positions are filled, though, Student Life is devoting itself to promoting involvement and fellowship among students, Prilliman said.
This year, he said, he hopes students will feel a revived passion for participation in campus activities, whether that be club membership, event attendance, or simply conversations in passing.
“I feel like there is a different energy,” Prilliman said, referring to the incoming freshman class. “We are getting back more into the community here on campus.”
Student Life will be hosting several favorite events this year and is also working with a fresh Campus Activities Board to incorporate new ideas and activities to engage a broader student audience. For example, Breakfast and Bingo, a finals-week tradition, will still be held on the Sunday preceding finals week but will include the addition of raffle tickets and the chance to win even larger prizes. Students can also look forward to Halloween-themed festivities, a Fall Formal in November, and intramural athletic matches.
Understanding that not all students interact within the Newman community in the same way, Prilliman said, the Student Life department wants to facilitate opportunities, from the largest events down to the most personal interactions between individuals. Whether students are athletes or not, have outgoing personalities or not, live on-campus or not, there will be ways for students of all interests and backgrounds to get involved.
Students hoping to participate can find dates, times, locations, and information for these events and activities through multiple different methods. The Jet Broadcast email along with the official Newman University Instagram and Facebook pages are reliable sources for events, activities, and public messages, Prilliman said For students curious about clubs and organizations, the NU student body GroupMe chat frequently posts flyers for club-related meetings and gatherings, and physical flyers are commonly taped up around the buildings on campus.
Prilliman said he is excited to see the Newman community’s resilience shine this year as students get involved.
“Be as involved as you want to be. Step outside your box just a little bit once in a while,” he said.
He also voiced a desire for students to know that “getting involved does not mean you have to be part of the clubs. (It) doesn’t mean you have to be part of planning anything.”
Students, he said, should “just show up. Bring your friends. Hang out with your friends. Go to athletic events. Go to CAB events. Go to MCLO events. Go to these things that we have to offer and open yourself to everything and this place will change your life forever.”
PHOTO: Sydney Endicott, Photographer