First-year students at Gonzaga preparing for normal campus life

SPOKANE, Wash.— After a two-year hiatus, incoming students at Gonzaga University can experience normal campus life this school year.

Students at GU haven’t seen normal campus life for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools return to normal, more social gatherings and in-person meetings are coming back, helping incoming students fully prepare for this school year.

“I’m super excited,” First-year student Emily Duong said. “I’ve been doing lots of orientations. I’ve been meeting a lot of new people.”

There is a lot of energy back on campus from incoming students, with people starving for connections with others.

“It’s cool that they are making efforts for us to be able to meet new people and get connected with the community,” Duong said.

Incoming first-year student Brendan Huey is from San Francisco, California. He says coming into a new environment like Spokane is different. However, he is happy that things are back in-person post-covid, saying he can make true, genuine connections in-person connections rather than through a camera.

One of the events students got to do this weekend was going into the McCarthey Athletic Center, aka “The Kennel,” learning the new cheers and dances for the upcoming basketball season. This gives students the chance to really get to know the Zag spirit, according to Director of New Student and Family Programs at GU Nicola Mannetter.

Campus officials say they are gearing up for a back-to-normal school year.

“In 2020, our orientation was almost virtual,” Mannetter said. “[Students] were able to gather outdoors in small groups with masks on, but a lot of what they did was virtual in front of the screen.”

For parents, it’s time to say their goodbyes to their new college kids.

Some parents say these students are ready for what’s to come this academic year.

“I think through this covid timeframe… online learning during high school… launching their senior year… I think it was the perfect transition then now launching into college,” Sheryl Carlson said. “I think they are very fortunate that this class coming in.”

School officials say 1,230 new students will be gracing GU’s new campus this year. The last day of orientation is Monday before classes start on Tuesday.