Hi everyone! I am Francesca Russo, a recently selected 2015-2016 RA for Loyola Hall. When I received my acceptance letter last month, I was beyond excited. The Manresa Program made my freshman year so special and memorable, and I can’t wait to be a part of it next year, too. I commute from Westchester County (specifically, Yonkers), which is about a fifteen-minute drive. Commuting can be tough sometimes, but the Manresa program helped me feel like an important part of a close community.
In the fall I took Dean Parmach’s course, “The Lost Interlocutor: Philosophy of Human Nature”. Our class was small- only about fifteen students- and we were all a part of Manresa. This was awesome because we got to know each other in a more significant and personal way. Dean Parmach incorporated cool campus (and Manresa) events into our curriculum. We went out to dinner at a Greek restaurant in Queens, saw a play about Plato’s Apology, and attended colloquium dinner-discussions with notable faculty. Only a few weeks into my freshman year, I already felt like I was challenging myself and learning more about who I am.
This semester, I’m taking the Manresa Spring Symposium. The Spring Symposium is a class that incorporates all the characteristics I loved about my first semester course, such as a sense of community, while adding a new, exciting dimension: social justice. A few times a month, we travel as a class to a local Catholic elementary school to tutor and mentor the younger students. This is special because not only do we study the important work of Jesuits, but we are also given the opportunity to follow their lead by serving others in the local Bronx community.
Next year, you all will have opportunities like these, and much more. I’m really excited to be an RA next year because I will help execute all the programs I loved so much. We have all kinds of events, from talent shows and a Christmas party, to manhunt around Halloween. There’s something going on almost every day, so it’s hard to be bored. I will definitely miss being a Manresa Scholar, but I am looking forward to making your freshman year just as memorable as mine was. I can’t wait to meet all of you in the fall!
Francesca Russo, FCRH 2018
Manresa Scholar and 2015-2016 Loyola Hall Resident Assistant