RUTLAND—The newest members of the CSJ community arrived on campus Thursday, Aug. 18, when freshmen and transfer students moved into the college’s residence halls and began to learn what it means to be a part of the CSJ family.
Residence Life staff helped unpack cars filled with plastic tubs, beanbags, boxed microwaves and mini-fridges, welcoming the 85 incoming students to their new home, up from last year’s 77 new students.
This is the third consecutive year that housing has been filled or nearly filled, something that Director of Admissions Ken LaBate is especially excited about, given the make up of the new class.
“We have a very diverse class coming in, with students from across the country calling CSJ home,” he said. “We have students coming from as far away as Hawaii, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania, as well as one international student.”
LaBate is also excited about the number of Vermont students who chose to attend College of St. Joseph this fall, 49 percent of the incoming class hails from the Green Mountain State, he said.
“This is something we’re very proud of. We’ve got a few Red Raiders,” he said, referring to the group of students coming from Rutland High School.
Most high school students are choosing to leave Vermont to continue their education, said LaBate, but he noted that Vermonters are “becoming wise to the numbers game,” referencing the college’s affordability through the Provider Scholarship Program, which provides full-time undergraduate students with up to $65,000 in financial aid over their four years at CSJ in exchange for a commitment to academic curiosity, participation in campus activities and community engagement.
All first-year students in the Provider Program completed the first of their 15 required hours of community service for the semester this past weekend. To date, students have completed more than 12,000 hours of service since the program’s inception in 2013.
The incoming class learned more about the college’s clubs and activities through an activities fair on Friday, opening with a spiritual reflection led by Adjunct Professor Bruce Bishop.
“’We are a family – unique and diverse – but we are family,” said Bishop, who encouraged students to develop meaningful relationships with their peers and faculty while assuring them that they will never be a number or just a face in the crowd at CSJ.
Interim President Lawrence Jensen officially welcomed the incoming class, sharing the story of when he was an undergraduate and his college president told his class to look to their left and their right, because only one of them would make it to the end of their journey. He wasn’t going to say the same about them, though, he said.
“There are 85 of you sitting in this theater right now. It’s my greatest hope that we deliver the same number of diplomas in four years,” he said. “We’re here to see that you get your degree and go to whatever community you’re going to live in and be an asset to that community.”
Jensen said that CSJ provides students with the resources and tools needed to succeed, but it’s ultimately up to them to be the drivers of their education.
“The most important thing I want you to take away from here is that you came and did something you wanted to do, which is get a degree,” he said. “You will be proud of yourself for the rest of your life.”
The college’s upperclassmen returned to campus on Sunday, just in time for classes, which began Monday, Aug. 22.
CSJ Resident Life staff works with new students as they arrive at college.