Campus Ministry introduces new program for incoming freshmen

Meghan Schmitt, Crier Staff

While the buzz on campus this fall is focused on the new improvements to the Cushing Center, Campus Ministers Sarah Catherine Haines and Sue Gabert have started a new initiative with the approval of Dr. DiSalvo: Anselmian 360.

The Anselmian 360 program is a series of five one-night retreats to selected camps in New England. Each trip will have 10 upperclassmen leaders, and Campus Ministry hopes to include half of the freshmen class this year. Haines has released the location of one of the outreaches, stating that one of the groups will go to Camp Berea in Hebron, New Hampshire.

Anselmian 360 logo.
Courtesy\Sarah Catherine Haines
Anselmian 360 logo.

Haines and Gabert hope that Anselmian 360 will function as a supplement to the Conversatio course, focusing on the themes of the self, the community, and the divine.

In his State of the College update, President DiSalvo introduces the new program: “Later this fall, Anselmian 360, a new overnight retreat experience will host five trips for first-year students, offering an exploration of the college’s intellectual, social and spiritual resources in the context of a Benedictine education.”

The program begins in the middle of the fall semester, intending to give freshmen rest from the pressure of the campus, an opportunity to meet other students, and the chance to learn more about Saint Anselm College and make it their home. The goal is to give new students a well-rounded, 360-degree understanding of the college. Haines hopes that the initiative will be a “spiritual orientation” for the incoming class and the classes to follow.

When asked how Anselmian 360 differed from Freshman Escape, Haines said that this program’s focus had shifted from that of the former Freshman Escape retreat.

“With Freshman Escape, the focus was more explicitly on God and the Catholic faith; it was a religious retreat. We had a worship space and we did prayers together as a group. Anselmian 360 will not have all of those elements. We want these trips to demonstrate the Benedictine hospitality that you see on campus every day. While it does include spiritual elements, the students’ individual journeys will be the forefront of the program.”

Haines believes that the overwhelming support from upperclassmen student leaders will secure the future of Campus Ministry’s initiative. With continued efforts, next year’s 360 program may be able to accommodate the entire class of 2021. Thirty upperclassmen, most of them without previous experience in Campus Ministry, have already signed on to lead this fall’s trips.

“These individuals are the driving force behind Anselmian 360,” states Haines.  “Student involvement is essential, and we have taken a lot of care in the development of this initiative.”

After Anselmian 360 concludes, first-year students have the opportunity to continue to participate in Anselmian Pathways, an additional designed to set students on their life journey based on their individual interests and goals.  As summer draws to a close and the college embraces autumn, Campus Ministry hopes that the student body will enjoy taking part in Anselmian 360.