Monthly Archives: June 2003
It is quite possibly the number one question asked by all incoming freshmen to Fairfield University or any other college: what is the best dorm to live in? Well consider yourself lucky… Fairfield has plenty of good ones to choose from.
Just so you know, my opinion is not biased. I have either lived in or spent nights in, ahem, all of the seven residence halls on campus. Each one has its own special flavor.
According to the majority of the people on campus, Gonzaga seems to be the place to live as soon as you get your choice. Every year the rooms in Gonzaga are filled before any other dorm. Students stress that Gonzaga has the biggest rooms and is closest to classes in Donnarumma and Canisius.
Your next safest bet is living in Regis or Loyola. Regis is the largest residence hall on campus and Loyola is home to the Ignatian Residential College. Regis and Loyola are at an equal distance from the Canisius and Donnarumma classrooms, again appealing to lazy 8:00 a.m. class-takers. Freshmen and sophomores in Regis have different experiences, because many freshmen are in triples, making their experience less pleasing.
The next two halls, Campion and Jogues, are my personal favorites. There is just something about them that make them ultra-livable. Jogues is definitely the most social hall. In Jogues, you feel as though you are secluded enough on your own wing to do your own thing, but are close enough to the rest of the world to keep your finger on the pulse of what is going on.
Campion’s allure includes the long, straight hallways and the infamous high ceilings of the first floor. Another plus is that Campion was completely renovated last summer and is in the process of being rewired for even faster Internet services.
Coming in next are Kostka and Claver. These suite-style living halls are for the older kids with two rooms sharing a common bathroom. Students like living here as sophomores, hate it as juniors, but always rave about sharing a bathroom with three people instead of 43.
Now comes Dolan. The legend, the myth, the mystery. To be honest, Dolan does not deserve as bad as a rap as it gets. Yes, it is basically off-campus. Yes, there are numerous ghost stories. And yes, the double rooms are about the size of the bathrooms in Kostka and Claver. But the Dolanites seem to have something that a lot of other halls lack: a sense of unmatched community.
Whatever hall you choose here at F.U. does not determine the experience you get. Just as in everything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it. Yes, you may get the middle triple in Jogues that is about three times as large as any room on campus, but if you don’t get involved, don’t go to class and don’t experience all the other aspects of Fairfield, your time here will suffer.
On that happy note, enjoy your stay in Fairfield’s residence halls. And just remember, its about eight bucks a night to stay here… so don’t expect mints on your pillow.
Amid the uncertainty that has surrounded the men’s basketball program in past years, one thing became a sure thing during the Stags’ 19-12 and NIT berth season last year: head coach Tim O’Toole would be offered a contract extension from Fairfield’s athletic administration.
O’Toole affirmed his future at Fairfield by signing a contract extension on June 4. The extension was initially offered to O’Toole during the season, but he said that he didn’t want the contract discussions to be a distraction during the season and chose to wait until after the recruiting process for next season was complete.
The five-year head coach said he’s happy to be back, but declined to comment on the specifics or the length of the extension because of the effect it may have on recruiting future players.
The Connecticut Post has speculated that the extension is a multi-year deal.
Director of Athletics Eugene Doris also said the contract was under closed terms, but said he was never worried that O’Toole wouldn’t return, despite his prior contract expiring the end of June.
“I know his heart is here,” Doris said. “I think you always have to have a back-up plan. But I always had a feeling that he wanted to be here. I never thought about it (the back-up plan) seriously. I never felt like I had to pull it out of the drawer.”
“When you build a foundation as solid as he has here … I know it has to be tempting to go elsewhere, but when it comes to a coach’s decision to go or stay, I think it comes down to what they’ve built the foundation in,” Doris added.
Doris also said that other potentially-interested candidates for the position knew O’Toole would eventually re-sign at Fairfield.
“The job was never open,” Doris said. “Most people know when someone is going to stay or go. It’s fairly tacky and not looked upon favorably in a business sense when someone calls up for a position like that.”
The 39-year-old O’Toole graduated from Fairfield in 1987 and was a two-year captain of the basketball team. Before taking the head coaching position at Fairfield in 1998, O’Toole served as an assistant coach at Fordham, Army, Iona, Syracuse and Duke.
The Stags have made steady improvements, record-wise, during O’Toole’s five years at the helm,climaxing last season by reaching the MAAC tournament championship game, a home NIT game against Boston College and finishing with the program’s first winning season since the 1995-96 season.
Doris said he expects the program to continue moving forward and noteworthy results becoming more common for the team.
“This year was sort of a coming out party in terms of the team’s record, but I think we’re going to see more standard victories than saying, ‘Oh my God we won a big game,’” Doris said. “We’re going to have the ability to be at the top of the MAAC and the ability to win out of conference games, something we’ve struggled to do before.”
Doris said the team has confirmed non-conference games against Fordham at home, away games at St. John’s, Yale and Harvard and a game against Michigan at Madison Square Garden.
At this time, Duke has not been confirmed and appears to be unlikely. Doris said games against Holy Cross and St. Joseph’s are more likely for the ’04-05 season. Fairfield is still looking for two more non-conference games for the ’03-04 schedule.
The Stags, however, will take part in the highly competitive Rainbow Classic in Hawaii next year.
O’Toole said that through the growing process of the program, it has been great to see all 18 seniors to successfully graduate from Fairfield in his five years.
“Fairfield is a great institution, both athletically and academically,” O’Toole said. “Students receive a great deal of academic support here … I can’t say enough about academics. Eighteen out of eighteen have graduated since I’ve been here. We know we can go out and recruit kids that are going to graduate.”
One of O’Toole’s most highly-touted recruits, Deng Gai, ’05, will be back for the Stags next year. According to Doris, Gai was never leaving Fairfield but a cultural misunderstanding prompted rumors that he would be transferring to a more prominent college basketball team or even playing abroad.
Gai, a native of the Sudan, led the conference in blocked shots for the second straight year to help him earn the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year award for the second time.
“We’ve never had what I would consider four solid years of recruiting,” Doris said. “This is the first time since I’ve been here that we’re retooling more than rebuilding. We haven’t seen the best Fairfield basketball yet.”
I’m heading to college far away from home, and none of my friends are going there. I’m a little worried about meeting people. What’s the best way to get to know others?
-A Friend in Need
Walk around campus saying “Will you be my friend?” in a really whiny voice to anyone that passes you.
Or, be productive. If you were involved in an organization in high school – yearbook, student government, newspaper, environmental club, etc. – find the equivalent on campus and join it.
Getting involved and meeting people in various areas that you’re interested in is a surefire way to make friends since you already have something in common. For those hoping to find some great college guy or girl, that can work too, by the way.
The people on your floor can become good friends of yours – many dorms will have gatherings, events and the like for people on your floor or building. That is a great way to get to know people and have some fun.
Orientation at college is the first introduction you’ll have to people at your school, so take advantage of that possibility. The same goes for the first week of school, which is always full of activities from short trips to naked bungee jumping. (Well, maybe not that, but many of the events are just as fun.)
One event I went to the first weekend I was at college caused me to have a run-in with the niece of a professor at my school, who was mad because I was made some innocent comment about her uncle. It’s three years later and we’re great friends.
Of course, then there’s your live-in friend-to-be: the roommate. You’re around them a lot, you filled out that survey saying what kind of person you are, so the person sleeping on the bunk above or below you could become a great friend too. Just don’t eat his Doritos.
(Off-topic note: I find it quite amusing that Word’s autocorrect feature actually capitalized the D in Doritos while I was writing this column.)
Is college more difficult than high school? I have heard horror stories from people who went off and were overwhelmed.
-Learning is fundamental – but where’s the fun?
That’s easy. Of course. You, your parents, the loan company, etc. wouldn’t put out that much money for an undergraduate degree if there wasn’t more to learn. And you got that 2+2 stuff out of the way already, so it’s time to expand your knowledge. By expand your knowledge, I mean 15-page term papers, final exams that count for a huge chunk of your grade, and reading hundreds of pages of textbooks a week.
That’s not to say that you can’t handle it. College is faster paced than high school is, but you also have some control over which classes you take. That means you can find areas that interest you instead of spending a semester reading Shakespeare when you can barely understand each sentence of Othello.
Colleges know, especially for freshmen, that there is a transition that you have to go through. That’s why most freshmen take a boatload of introductory courses that initiate you into the term papers, final exams and textbook reading. It won’t be as easy as high school, but you also have more time to get things done, and you have some control. So it’s no biggie.
My parents have scared me. They’ve basically told me that I won’t get along with my roommate and that they purposely pair people together who don’t get along as a way to make you get used to the real world. Is that really going to happen?
-Small spaces, big problems
Don’t fret my pet. Virtually dozens and dozens of students go to college and have a roommate. Some live to tell about it, and some don’t even have big enough problems to leave emotional scars.
I was paired my freshman year with someone who I’d say, with a few adjustments, was an identical version of me. That doesn’t always happen – two friends of mine were paired together freshman year and by October were in different rooms – but disaster isn’t guaranteed. Some people end up becoming so close to their college roommates that they stay close after college.
The nice thing about college is that you can request a room change. The people in housing work very hard to make sure that you feel like you’re welcome, and if that means finding you a room where the roommate doesn’t have a temper as hot as a radiator, they’ll do it.
Not every roommate situation works out, but that’s why there are hundreds of dorm rooms waiting with welcoming people who’d like nothing more than for you to throw your clothes on their side of the room. Good luck, and thanks for asking.
More than 75 questions have been answered by Josh since his advice column launched last September. To read previous columns, visit The Mirror Online at www.fairfieldmirror.com To send in a question to A Word of Advice, E-mail email@example.com and they will be answered in a future column.
I would have opened this column with a reference to the song the university has selected to haunt you with for the next four years, but as I don’t know what it is and am too lazy to find out (I am on vacation, after all), I will treat you to the wise words of Mr. Lindsey Buckingham, who apparently speaks for my generation: “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow / Don’t stop-it’ll soon be here.”
So, you’ve decided to come to Fairfield University. As C. Montgomery Burns would say, “Excellent.” I remember my orientation clearly. Well, that’s not entirely true; I remember how I felt during my orientation. Many of my friends will likely tell you that I am a worrier or neurotic, despite the fact that I have loosened up considerably in the past three years.
That fateful weekend in June, however, I was a bundle of nerves, scarred from the social battleground of high school and second-guessing the choices I had made for my future, namely, had I really chosen the school that was for me?
By the end of the weekend, I was eagerly anticipating move-in day. Obviously something happened between the two journeys through the Barlow Road gates, and in the interest of brevity, I will simply say that my perspective was altered and my expectations re-evaluated.
I believe the defining moment of the weekend was in the evening, when several members of my FYE group and I decided to walk back to the quad together, and while discussing our hopes for the upcoming academic year, I mentioned that I was hoping to become best friends with my unknown roommate. Allyson, one of the people in our group, said, “You can’t expect that. The main thing is just trying to live with another person.” As silly as it may sound now, I had never previously entertained the thought that I didn’t have to be best friends with my roommate; after all, I was being assigned a random person, not a kindred spirit.
This isn’t to say that some people don’t develop a strong bond with their freshman roommate, but those who do tend to be an exception rather than the rule. My frosh roomie and I lasted all of one semester together; I won’t comment further, for to do so would be petty and immature. All I will say is that I am not that hard to live with. The moral of the story? Keep a wide perspective on not just your roommate, but on Fairfield U. as a whole. “Growing up” isn’t about maxing out your parents’ credit cards and drinking a pitcher because you can; it’s about learning to roll with the punches and not dwell on the bruises they leave for too long.
A final word of advice: under no circumstances should you ever eat the eggplant parmigiana in Barone. Just trust me on this. Oh, and Class of 2007-Welcome to Fairfield.
If you haven’t found out by now, cars are not permitted on campus if you’re a freshman. There are, however, a number of ways to get around, both on and off campus, if you need to get somewhere.
For those needing to get around the campus, there are shuttle buses that are available. They run in a loop around the campus, picking up students every 10 to 20 minutes. The shuttles stop at such buildings as the Dolan School of Business, the quad, the Barone Campus Center, the Dolan complex (housing dorm rooms, the health center, and other offices) and the townhouses.
Shuttles also are provided by the school for off-campus locations. Shuttles run to such areas as Bob’s Stores and Stop ‘ Shop every day, and to the mall on weekends. There are also shuttles to movie theaters in the area. Shuttles for both on and off campus locations are free.
For those who need to get to locations the shuttle doesn’t reach, the popular choice is Fairfield Cab. Fairfield Cab offers reasonable rates and will get people just about everywhere they need to in the area. They are based out of the Fairfield train station, which is less than a mile from the school, and offer quick and inexpensive transportation to and from the school. Rates start at $2.50, with an additional $1 per mile after that. Call 255-5797 for a cab.
For those looking to go farther away, take the train. The Metro-North trains run hourly every day between New York and New Haven, with additional trains during peak commuting hours. Off-peak tickets into New York are $10.25, and peak tickets during rush hours are $13.50. Note that a surcharge is added if you purchase tickets on board the train when the ticket window at the station is open. These rates take effect July 1.
Going even further? An Amtrak station is located about 15 minutes away in Bridgeport. You can take a cab to the station, but the cheapest way to go is to catch a Metro-North train from Fairfield to Bridgeport, which is about half the cost of getting there directly by cab. Amtrak’s Bridgeport station is located on the Northeast Corridor, with easy access to all stations between Boston and Washington, stopping in South Station in Boston, Penn Station in New York, and Union Station in Washington, D.C., among other connection points. Amtrak tickets vary in price depending on the day and whether the train is a local train or Acela Express train, and may require an advanced purchase of a ticket to reserve a seat. Call ahead or visit www.amtrak.com for more information.
There are other ways to get around too. Visit Fairfield University’s website at www.fairfield.edu for other recommended ways to get around.
If there’s one person you should meet on campus the upcoming year, it’s Kevin Neubauer.
A few months ago, Neubauer was named president of the Fairfield University Student Association (FUSA). As president, he listens to students for what they need, as well as help guide the more than 100 active students within the organization, offering leadership and being the face of a large organization.
Neubauer has many plans for the upcoming year, including increasing awareness of FUSA, increasing student participation within FUSA, establishing a program in which students have access to professor evaluations, evaluating employment opportunities for students on and off-campus during their stay at Fairfield, investigating the opportunity of decorating the Campus Center with student art, continuing to work towards online voting [for FUSA], and recreating the FUSA website and maintaining it.
Of Neubauer’s plans, one of his biggest efforts is to make faculty evaluations more accessible. “Whether it’s a private company or through Campus Pipeline [the student E-mail and information system] is a question,” Neubauer noted. “One of the biggest hurdles is presenting it to the faculty in such a way that doesn’t threaten them but instead shows them the benefits to both them and students. I think our goal with how accessible these would be would require them to be online and obviously right now the system isn’t online.”
These plans are key to students knowing which faculty members are good to take. Currently, students ask their friends if they are familiar with a professor and if they are a good teacher. Neubauer said that a better system is necessary for students to have as much information as possible.
In addition, Neubauer is also keen on elections for student government being moved online, a goal that previous FUSA president Karen Donoghue wanted to achieve. Neubauer said, “They tried it earlier this year with Pipeline for the freshmen. It was a simple technical fault. One would think that it wouldn’t be too hard to overcome it.”
A large problem occurred when only five names were listed per page, confusing some and making people whose names appeared later in the alphabet to work harder for awareness so students would know to look for them. “I’m not sure how hard FUSA pushed to get it on the same page,” Neubauer added. “You’d have to know who you’re voting for when you got there.”
Neubauer is from Providence, Rhode Island, and was the first junior to be elected since the early 1970s. He said the reason why he ran for president was because he “saw an opportunity where I could make a difference.”
As for how he feels his term has been going so far, Neubauer said, “It’s been busy, but I’ve enjoyed it. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of good work done and hope to continue to do so in the future.”