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First Year Retreat Welcomes New Students to LMU Community


More than 200 Loyola Marymount University freshmen attended the First Year Retreat at Pali Mountain Retreat Center in the San Bernardino Mountains, the retreat’s 25th anniversary and the largest attendance in its history.

“First Year Retreat is a great way to help students adjust to LMU being their new home,” said Michaela Buccola, coordinator of Campus Ministry’s outreach program and the First Year Retreat director. “We hope they engage in good conversations that are deeper and honest and that they can talk openly about their fears and anxieties with one another.”

The weekend-long retreat, Sept. 10-12, began Friday evening with ice-breakers and dividing into small groups. Activities included reflections, skit performances, affirmations and large group discussion on topics such as the relationship to self, to God and to others.

“I think there is a real need and desire on campus for this retreat. Students are allowed to be real with their peers and they get to hear testimonies from older students who share what [the retreat] did for them in their first year,” Buccola said. “I hope the students feel truly welcomed at LMU by the end of the retreat.”

The retreat is student run and supported by the staff members in Campus Ministry, and this year members of Student Housing attending as well. There are two student co-directors and 50 student leaders. Student leaders were selected from various groups across campus including freshman orientation leaders, resident advisers and members of service organizations and Greek life.

“We had a fabulous group of leaders this year who are very involved on campus,” said Maddy Gridley, senior communication studies major and FYR student co-director. “They were a dynamic group that could speak to the freshmen and make them feel welcomed and acclimated to LMU.”

Posted Sept. 13, 2010