Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Student Perspectives

Nicole Benevento, FCRH 2017

When I arrived on campus in the fall of 2013, I was like most freshmen: confused, overwhelmed, and a bit saddened about leaving home for the first time. However, my feelings changed once I walked into my dorm building, home of the Manresa Scholars Program. I noticed at once that the atmosphere that engulfed me was filled with an air of warmth and camaraderie; an atmosphere that did not cease to amaze me throughout the entire school year. All of the students, including the RAs and tutors, bonded instantly through various trips and service projects, both on and off-campus.

You could always count on someone to be around if you ever needed a printer, help with an assignment, or just someone to talk to. I firmly believe that because of my participation in the Manresa program, I was able to assimilate to life away at college and excel at Fordham in a way that would have been impossible to do otherwise. I was able to discover who I was, and realize who I am really meant to be.

Admir Milla, FCRH 2017

As a commuter student, it may seem peculiar that I was part of the Manresa Program. In a community where members were so close that they shared meals daily, I limited my interactions in the beginning and only saw them during class twice a week. However, after the first few weeks, I took some chances. I attended discussions with my fellow Manresa community members where we spoke openly about important and personal topics, such as having reasonable faith.

Not only was I more comfortable with myself after these discussions, but I also grew closer to my fellow students and professors. By talking about real-world themes, we broke the traditional barriers of the classroom and allowed relationships to flourish under the guidance of intellectually inspiring conversation. Manresa allowed me not only to challenge myself academically, but also to overcome initial hesitations toward a new college.

Gabbi D'Amato, FCRH 2017

The Manresa Program has great professors teaching seminars that inspire you and reflect the Ignatian goal of "setting your heart on fire." The Jesuit attention to social justice and focus on care for the whole person become second nature to the students in the Program. It gives you a family at Fordham before you go to sleep the first night.

I'll never forget sitting on the Martyrs' Court steps listening to Fr. Florio and Dean Parmach tell us that we were a family; therefore, we were expected to watch out for each other and to respect one another both in and out of the classroom. For the rest of the year, no one forgot it. Manresa is a great opportunity to immerse yourself into your education and the Jesuit tradition in concrete ways. The most valuable part of the Manresa Program was the new Fordham family with which it provided me.

Georgie Siller, GSB 2017

The word "community" seems overused in college brochures, but somehow, the Manresa Program embodied its definition in every sense, academically, spiritually, and personally.

Core Jesuit values of social justice and caring for the whole person weren't just taught—they were practiced. This was evident in everyone's actions, whether it was something small, such as holding open the door for someone, or something larger, such as students sacrificing sleep on their spring breaks to immerse themselves in the world around them, performing service in solidarity with those in need in New York City.

Faith, a concept I found to be wrought with more uncertainty than hope prior to becoming a Manresa Scholar, is clearer to me now. My faith is defined daily in the actions of the compassionate individuals with whom I surrounded myself in the Manresa Program. My experience has made me a better person. I am no longer someone who is just of the world; rather, I am for the world.

Katie Labonte, FCRH 2016

Manresa Student Tutor, 2013-2014

Manresa begins with the desire of all residents to pursue a more enriched academic and cultural life during their freshman year, and I knew that to be my desire, as well. I was enrolled in a special section of one of my core classes, Philosophy, and my twelve fellow classmates and I dove headfirst into the world of Socrates and solipsism, engaging in focused dialogue and learning from one another. Outside of the classroom, the other students in Manresa became my family. I could walk into the lounge on any given day, and it would be abuzz with culinary experiments, academic endeavors, and plenty of movie nights.

Through faculty and RA-planned programming, I saw my first Broadway show (Newsies!), went kayaking on the Hudson River, enjoyed latkes and an egg cream at Katz’s Deli, and saw my beloved Red Sox fall spectacularly to the Yankees at my first trip to Yankee Stadium (I went back a year later and they won). I found my closest friends through Manresa and hoped it would never end.

It didn’t. I returned the following year to work as a residential tutor for that year’s Manresa Scholars and became known as "Tutor Katie." From this position, I watched the radical transformation I had undergone the previous year unfold once more. I developed different relationships with the students and faculty and it was an incredible honor to work for the community that had been the intentional backbone to my freshman year experience and my undergraduate career at Fordham.

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