BY: KYLEIGH PANETTA
Last week the snow didn’t stop 90 Manhattan College students from piling onto buses and making the four-hour drive up to The Sagamore Resort in Lake George to participate in Student Activities’ D.R.E.A.M. weekend.
Director of Student Activities John Bennett and Assistant Director of Student Activities Gabrielle Occhiogrosso coordinated this weekend with one main goal in mind.
“My goal was that 90 students attended and that they made 89 new friends. 89 new people to go to lunch with, to go to basketball games with, to study with, to hang out with,” Bennett said.
According to Occhiogrosso, D.R.E.A.M. weekend consisted of “learning how to get involved and get connected with each other as well as different jobs and positions on campus.”
One of the 90 students that attended and benefited from this weekend was freshman Ariel Romage.
“I learned a lot about the student activities department, and ways to meet different people,” she said. “It was very beneficial to me because I’m a commuter and I don’t want to be that commuter that goes to school and goes home. I want to be involved.”
Nelson da Luz, a junior at MC, attended D.R.E.A.M. weekend his freshman year as well as this year.
“The two weekends were very different experiences,” he said. “The last one that I went on only had about 15 students so the whole group dynamic was different.”
Da Luz said he expected the weekend to help him develop his leadership skills and network with other students.
“I’d say that it definitely met my expectations in terms of meeting new students and letting them know about things that I’m involved with on campus,” da Luz said.
“I learned that there are a lot of like-minded people at the college,” he continued. “Even though I’m a junior, I found that a lot of the students who are younger than me share a lot of the same beliefs and similar goals. I think that everyone had a lot to offer to one another no matter what grade they were in or whatever other ways they may have been different.”
The schedule of the weekend started with an introduction in Hayden 100 on Friday afternoon with speakers from all different departments on campus, including campus ministry, career development, athletics and more. Afterwards the group enjoyed a catered dinner in Dante’s and then headed out.
When they arrived at the hotel on Friday night, about 9:30 p.m., they were greeted with hot chocolate and cookies and then were given room assignments. Saturday morning welcomed students with breakfast and after a few hours of ice-breakers and info. sessions, they had free time for the rest of the afternoon.
On Saturday night everyone dressed up for a nice dinner and after enjoyed an outdoor bonfire in the snow. The group departed at about 10 a.m. Sunday morning to head back to campus. Originally they were set to leave at about 12 p.m. but changed the time due to the impending snow warning.
Bennett was very pleased with the outcome of the weekend.
“The proof is in the pudding,” he said. “Come Saturday night dinner when there were no nametags, everyone found a seat at dinner and was having a great time. It was noisy and fun and lively. We would know our goal wasn’t accomplished if it was quiet and awkward.”
“Compared to last year, we had double the numbers this year. It’s an amazing feeling knowing more students wanted to come,” Occhiogrosso said.
“I don’t think anyone ever regrets going,” Bennett said.