Despite Omicron sending students back to the all too familiar online-classroom for the first two weeks of the semester, classes are now back in-person and being with students have returned to the classroom and are adjusting to life in person.
But with COVID-19 still being very prevalent in our lives, it can be difficult to find ways to connect with the UP community.
While UP offers many activities to help restore a sense of community on campus, one option that stands out is connecting with others through pastoral events. Residents not only have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of snacks through the pastoral events hosted in dorms across campus, but they also get to connect with other students and get to know the pastoral residents.
Here’s a list of three potential pastoral events you can attend across the quads on campus:
Breaking Bread with Father Jim Gallagher
In pre-pandemic times, Breaking Bread was hosted in Gallagher’s apartment, but now you can find the event in the Mehling Ballroom every Monday night at 9 p.m. The home-baked bread is served pre-sliced and wrapped up individually in a napkin. Students have the option to pick up an individual pad of butter to pair with their bread.
A variety of bread can be found as Gallagher is always taking requests and recommendations for what to bake for the following week.
Since originating in Corrado Hall, when Gallagher was a pastoral resident there, Breaking Bread has always aimed to bring a sense of community to the dorm residents.
“I think we flourish when we have time to interact with each other in person,” Gallagher said. “And so to be able to provide one of those spaces where people are able to spend some time in person to catch up with one another to take a break to be out of their room, I think is a really important thing.”
Cereal Sundays with Father John Donato
Every other Sunday at 9 p.m. in Fields and Schoendfelt’s first floor lobby, students can find eight different types of cereal to enjoy with 2%, almond or soy milk. Found in clear containers so the options can be visible, all students have to do is hold out their bowl and say stop when they’re satisfied with the amount of cereal Donato has poured for them.
Ranging from apple jacks to Oreo-flavored cereal, this tradition was started by an idea that a former student presented to Donato.
“This was a student idea to begin with,” Donato said. “I love it because it brings us together around something that is fun and simple. There’s something important about seeing each other face-to-face, even with our masks on. It builds community and I’m glad we can do that.”
Tater-tots with Father Ed Obermiller
The residents of Kenna enjoy a comforting serving of tater-tots every other Thursday in Obermiller’s apartment in Kenna 260 at 9 p.m. Along with the tater-tots, several dipping sauces are presented to go with their tots.
Obermiller — who went to the Culinary Institute of America — finds comfort in the simplicity of tater-tots.
“And so people joke with me, you trained as a chef, and yet you serve taters,” Obermiller said. “I've always said that the food was supposed to be fun. It’s more of a social time together than it is tots. I think there’s some comfort, they’re seen as comfort food.”
Obermiller emphasizes that pastoral residents enjoy hosting these events and they find importance in establishing a connection with students.
“To be able to live among our students, get to know them better, get to know what they’re passionate about, and what inspires them is why I love being able to do this during the pandemic,” Obermiller said.
Janea Melido is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org.