Catching Fire!

Hi all!

So, I have had quite a busy last two weeks…It seems to be that time in the semester for everyone. Not only have I had had tons of homework (10-page research paper, 5-page analysis paper, Education project, Psychology test, etc); I also have attended Woman’s Retreat team meetings, I have been learning the ropes to become Editor of the Opinion section for our school newspaper – The Aquinas, and I have been working as a tour-guide for Admissions as well. Needless to say, I am exhausted!

But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel…Catching Fire, the second book/movie of The Hunger Games trilogy, premiers on this Thursday!!!

I know, I know. I am such a nerd. Last week I wrote about the Harry Potter Retreat, and now Catching Fire…Can you tell that I am an English major?! But seriously…Catching Fire has come at the perfect time. And The University of Scranton, as usual, has done everything in its power to make this wonderful movie accessible to the student-body.

Last week, Residence Life sold tickets for the midnight premier of Catching Fire – they only cost $5, and include transportation to and from the theater. So of course, a bunch of my friends and I purchased tickets…in fact, we were the first students in line to buy them (can you tell that I am a little bit excited?!) Thank you, UofS, for always providing such wonderful deals for students!!

Of course, the UofS would not be the UofS if we did not find educational value in the Hunger Games! So, last Friday, the Justice Pillar of Cura Personalis (the living-learning community I reside in,) held a Hunger Games program where we watched the first Hunger Games movie, then participated in a discussion afterwards about the different social-justice issues presented in the film. This program was a great way to learn about different issues facing our world today, and to get pumped for the midnight premier of Catching Fire this Thursday!!

Click here for a link to the Catching Fire trailers!

I hope you all enjoy Catching Fire! (Even if you have never read the books for seen the first movie, you have 38 hours between now and the midnight premier – AKA, just enough time to speed-read!)  


Have a lovely week!

Sarah :)



Harry Potter Retreat

“When I am 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, ‘After all this time?’ And I will say, ‘Always.'”
-Alan Rickman

This weekend, I went on “A Very Potter Retreat,” the Harry Potter retreat hosted by Campus Ministries at the University of Scranton. I know what you’re thinking – a Harry Potter retreat at a Jesuit university? How on earth does that identify with Christian and Jesuit values? Honestly, I wondered the same thing before I attended the retreat. But my quad-mate was helping lead the retreat, and anyway, I am a HUGE HP nerd – so of course I had to see what the retreat was all about!

Not only was the retreat SUPER FUN, but it was also quite reflective and introspective. From a hike through the Forbidden Forest, making our own wands, HP trivia games, eating in “The Great Hall,” etc, to serious talks about different HP themes such as identity, forgiveness, death and love (and a WONDERFUL wrap-up talk given by my quad-mate about how Hogwarts helped us grow up) – the retreat covered a vast array of areas that allowed the retreat attendants to both embrace our inner HP nerd, and also discover deeper, personal meanings in the books’ primary themes. Furthermore, Father Rick’s talk really tied the retreat’s discussed themes to Jesuit ideals!


My small group! (All holding our Weasley sweaters!)


“The Weasley Clock” in our small group discussion room! So creative!


My quad-mate (who helped lead the retreat) and I!


My lovely quad, supporting my quad-mate on team!

As you can see, it was truly a wonderful weekend! I feel so lucky that the University of Scranton embraces Harry Potter, finding the good in its inspiring quotes and meaningful messages. My generation grew up with Harry Potter. Hogwarts is our story. It helped me grow into the person I am today. That the UofS recognizes Harry Potter’s unique value is just another reason why the University of Scranton is an amazing place to live. Truly, Scranton has become a new Hogwarts for me – as it constantly gives us the opportunities to grow, foster new ideas and perceptions, and even reunite with our childhoods.

Well, that’s all for this week!

Sarah :)

Ps. Did you know that the original Dumbledore actor, Richard Harris worked at the University of Scranton as a guest-theater teacher in the 80’s? Just another reason why Scranton is Hogwarts!!!  Click here to read a quick news paper article from May 8, 1987 about it!

On “Cura Personalis,” and Being “Men and Women for and with Others”

Hi everybody!!

So, Sunday was our second Open House for this year! BUT – before I talk about that, let me tell you all about another cool thing I was able to do this weekend!

As I have previously mentioned in other posts, I reside in the Cura Personalis living-learning community, which is faith, service, and justice oriented. On Saturday for All Soul’s Day, the Faith Pillar put on a really reflective program. In honor of All Soul’s Day, we made luminaries for our departed loved ones, and decorated the Rose Garden at the U. In the Rose Garden, we shared who our luminaries were for, and said a prayer. This project was truly beautiful, and really helped me appreciate life, and remember those who I have lost.

I absolutely love that the University of Scranton fosters such faith-based reflection for those who seek it. I feel like I grew so much closer to my friends who partook in the event. ‘Cura Personalis’ means ‘Care for the Whole Person.’ I feel like by making the All Soul’s Day luminaries, those who participated embodied this slogan and made it come alive in the illuminated paper-bags, bearing the names of those who influenced our lives: who quite possibly were watching over us as we honored them in the Rose Garden. We cared for each other emotionally, and we cared for our lost ones spiritually.

Below I have posted a few pictures of the beautiful program:

zz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

So that was Saturday night! It was definitely a nice was to ease into Sunday, which started bright and early for me! The University of Scranton put on its second Open House of the year Sunday, which was a blast! As a co-director of Royal Ambassadors, the tour guide program at the U, I was able to experience Open House firsthand!

Whereas two weeks ago, I wrote about the first Open House in more general terms, this week, I want to share some specific stories from both events, and how they relate back to “Cura Personalis,’ as well as other Jesuit ideals that are infused into the University of Scranton’s culture!

As a co-director, I was stationed in the DeNaples Center (the students’ center and main dining hall), where I facilitated the podium speakers (workers who spoke to the tour-groups about the DeNaples Center,) and I ensured that the tour remained on-schedule. Not only was I super inspired by everything the podium speakers shared, but I also feel so blessed to have witnessed so many perspective students fall in love with the U.

Below is a picture of me and my fellow co-directors from today’s Open House!


At the end of each Open House day, my boss asked me to help give individual tours to families who came in late and missed the group tours. As much as I absolutely LOVE my job as a co-director, there is still something about giving tours that makes my heart leap with joy (corny, I know – but it’s honestly the only way I can think of to describe the feeling I get when I give tours!!!) Last Open House, two weeks ago, I gave a last-minute tour to a girl, her mother, father, and grandmother. Her grandmother began to ask all of these questions about what makes Scranton stand out from other schools, and naturally I rattled off a million and two reasons why the UofS is the best school ever! Included in those reasons was service. When I spoke about how service is infused into students’ lives here, and all of the incredible service opportunities we offer here at the U, the girl’s grandmother started crying, and hugging me and thanking me, and telling her granddaughter that she has a feeling that the UofS is the right choice.

Now, I am not sharing this story to pat myself on the back or anything – the information I was sharing about service was the same information I share on every tour, and I have never gotten a response like the one I received from this grandmother. Rather, this Open House memory stands out strikingly to me, because it just goes to show how much service, or even the idea of service, can impact a single person. And just think: if the service done at the UofS can impact one visitor in this way, just think of how it impacts the Scranton student population. Sure, most Scranton students do not burst into tears at the thought of service work – maybe some do! – but what matters is that whether we recognize it or not, the fact that we are “men and women for and with others,” as St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits preached, is instilled in Scranton students’ hearts forever. It is a part of our culture, and I feel so fortunate to attend a school that values this service-oriented way of life.

Likewise, at this most recent Open House, I gave a tour to a late family, and once again, arrived at the topics of service, being “men and women for and with others,” and Cura Personalis. When the family and I arrived at our last stop on the tour – at GLM, a freshman residence hall – we actually bumped into my roommate who was also giving a tour to a late family. It was perfect timing, as tour guides talk about the roommate selection process at GLM! That being said, my roommate and I decided to tag-team this final stop on our tours, combining our two families into one group. We had a blast bouncing stories and facts off of one another, and the families enjoyed hearing our “roommate story!” After we finished speaking, one of the visitors asked the all-famous question, “what makes Scranton stand out among other schools?” My roommate and I both immediately answered “the atmosphere,” explaining that Scranton is so unique because the Jesuit ideals are so infused into our classes, activities, and simply our daily lives on campus. We told stories of people holding doors for us from fifty feet away, how wonderful the maintenance staff is, and how the UofS student body truly personifies the idea of Cura Personalis (because by “caring for the whole person” as per this Ignatian ideal, we care for each other!). The UofS students truly love to serve one-another.  The love and care that UofS students have for one-another is admirable, and sincerely makes me want to be a better friend, roommate, employee, student, and citizen. I am forever grateful for the fact that I can attend a school filled with such genuinely kind-hearted people. Truly, I am so blessed to attend the University of Scranton.

Have a wonderful week!

Sarah :)