If you ask members of the class of 2010 about their first look at Fairfield, you’ll get a series of different responses. But what makes their stories unique compared to the rest of the University is that most of the stories are void of one thing: The Aloysius P. Kelley Center.

The building was opened and operational when we arrived in September 2006, but it was not officially dedicated as the Kelley Center until October 5th. Having the Registrar, the StagCard Office, Career Planning, Financial Aid, Admissions, and other important offices all under one roof is a convenience students take for granted. The reality is that before any of us got here, these important student offices were scattered all over campus. As a tour guide, I love stepping out of the Kelley Center and walking right into Loyola Hall; strolling down the hill from Bellarmine past Donnarumma just seems like an inconvenience.

When we returned to campus as Juniors in the Fall ’08 and observed the changes to the landscape of the quad, many of my friends deemed them unnecessary and inconvenient. The paths that were added were not conducive to the traditional activities we’d once enjoyed on the quad, and we pitied the students who had to currently reside there. Today when I pass the quad, I can’t help but notice the freshman and sophomores sitting out, enjoying the weather and making the quad their own. I miss the quad I knew and loved from my little room in ‘Zaga, but this is just another example of the evolution of Fairfield.

When we arrived in 2006, I never imagined just how much these 212 acres would change in our four short years. I can only imagine the surprise of alums returning to their old stomping ground only to find a very different campus.  Admittedly,  I will never embrace some changes like renaming La Salsa ‘Senor Salsa.’ However, though the new layout of the cafeteria seriously diminishes traditional Barone stalking, the chairs and booths are pretty comfy.

I’m not happy about seeing construction sites daily, I definitely did not enjoy the four hour power outage in the Village on Friday, and let’s not get started on parking in the Village. But as frustrating as these nuisances are, our current discomfort will be quickly forgotten and outweighed by how much students will enjoy living at 51 McInnes Road.

Years from now when we ourselves return to our alma mater (provided there is a place for us to park), it’ll be bittersweet to discover that we will likely not recognize many parts of campus. We will find new or renovated structures that are completely unfamiliar to us, and yet home to hundreds of other students.

Fairfield has become my home and the prospect of leaving is sad.  It seems like the best way to adjust to change and to accommodate these few inconveniences is to think about the future. No, I don’t mean that future, because goodness knows I’m sick of uncertainty; but I know with  a lot of certainty that the future of Fairfield is bright. When Fairfield College of St. Robert Bellarmine purchased the University property in 1942, they probably could have never imagined we’d be where we are today. And while the current construction on campus won’t affect me, I’m excited for the students who will get to enjoy it. I just hope their four years will be as memorable as mine were.

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