BY: PAMELA SEGURA
This February, 50 or more students will spend a weekend in Lake George, NY. This group, which includes freshmen, sophomores and juniors, will journey to upstate New York to celebrate the D.R.E.A.M. weekend.
The D.R.E.A.M. weekend, which kicks off on Feb. 7, engages five core values and ideals: dedication, responsibility, emerging leadership, association and motivation.
The original weekend, however, was not always running on the D.R.E.A.M.
“When I started in the Student Activities, we held an annual trip called Emerging Leadership Weekend,” director of student activities John Bennett said. Bennett, along with assistant director of student activities Gabrielle Occhiogrosso, decided to revamp the weekend, starting with a name change.
“We needed to rebrand the weekend, as [I felt] the name of it was scaring people off,” Bennett said. “Gabrielle came up with the acronym for D.R.E.A.M. weekend as a more fun name for it.”
The weekend is structured on the premise that students—especially underclassmen and transfer students—will build lasting friendships, networking connections and college memories in an idyllic setting.
Last year, the D.R.E.A.M. weekenders traveled to Newport, Rhode Island. Two years ago, in 2012, the students ventured to the Poconos in Pennsylvania.
“We try to pick a place where the students really aren’t going to wander off and not be a part of the group,” Bennett said. “This type of trip wouldn’t work if we went to a hotel in midtown Manhattan and at night students had a million different options to go to.”
The specific activities planned for the D.R.E.A.M. are meant to be surprises. In the past trips, the students have gone to different restaurants and snow tubing. Still, the focus of group is built around its former name.
“Students who attend this trip are being proactive,” Bennett said. “That’s what we’re trying to provide them with, the information and avenues to do so.
“I can’t tell you how many students have come on this weekend with us in the past and become R.A.’s or orientation leaders,” Bennett continued. “It’s a great way to get your foot in the door.”
Gabriel Quiroz, a senior in the School of Business, attended the trip last year. He went to Newport with 20 other MC students.
“Being from California, I was eager to see another part of the east coast,” Quiroz said.
He also noted that the trip thrived on interactions between students and staff members.
“If you go, it’s not the time to be shy,” Quiroz said. “You’ll make new friends and learn new things about yourself.”
The D.R.E.A.M. weekend might extend beyond the early portion of the spring semester. Bennett confirms that the school is looking to expand on this opportunity, hopefully building stronger leaders along the way.
“We’ve discussed the idea of holding [a trip] in the fall,” Bennett said. “We’re also open to the idea of doing a similar type of trip for seniors only.”