Move-in day a volunteer’s reflection


When I was asked to write a reflection on helping during Move-In day and experiencing Orientation as an alumni, I needed a minute to think what I would even write.

I always wanted to take a day off work to help, but never remembered in time.

Last month I was sitting in my cubicle, opened the internet and saw the Orientation countdown was at two weeks (yes, the website still remains my homepage). I immediately emailed the alumni department, and requested that day from work.

Looking back, it felt much like my first-year move-in day with a twist.

I arrived expecting not to know many people and was nervous about finding my way. This time, however, I was coming home, a place that the First-Year students will call home for the next four years.

The nervousness vanished immediately when move-in started with a scene that definitely surprised me during my own move in – a sea of Orange converging on the line of cars pulled up on West Lincoln Ave and the smiles on the first-year students (I obviously requested the Paul, Rice, and Stine quad to check out my room in Rice). The best part was seeing the utterly surprised faces of the parents learning they wouldn’t have to help at all; my dad told me he still remembers pulling up and having the car emptied within minutes!

Sure, I woke up an hour earlier than normal to, drove an hour and a half from Baltimore, sweated a lot, and lifted a lot with my back, but I had a conversation with one parent that inspired me to try to help out at move-in day from now on. A family pulled up around 11am, after driving from Massachusetts that morning. They looked like they had a heck of a journey from New England. A few seniors and I walked up to their PACKED minivan and the dad asked me what year I was. When I told him I graduated almost five years ago, his eyes lit up and he said, “I think my son is going to like it here.”

In that moment I realized why I wanted to be a part of move-in day. From the moment you arrive as a first-year, you and your family instantly become part of the fantastic Gettysburg College community. Not only are you apart of it your first day, but for the rest of your life after your walk back through Pennsylvania Hall.

by Colin Gilmore ’10

A little push toward Gettysburg greatness

Over the past week, I have enjoyed reading many social media posts highlighting Gettysburg College’s Class of 2019. These first-year students are just now beginning their personal Gettysburg experiences and will be pushed to make new friends, try new activities, and step outside their comfort zones.

In many ways, I am envious that these students have four years ahead of them at such a very special place–the Gettysburg community–but I’m also grateful to have formed my own strong connections while I was on campus.

When I reflect on my life now and how it relates to my own Gettysburg experience, I think back to my initial days on campus as a first-year student. So much of what occurred during that time has influenced who I am and what I do today. It certainly wasn’t easy in the beginning, and there were many times I had to learn to reevaluate my expectations, reflect, or take on a new challenge. I am so thankful to Gettysburg for teaching me this.

The first and most formative experience that has influenced what I do now was my first-year seminar. The topic was hunger and homelessness in America. I was pushed to step outside of my comfort zone and challenge my own stereotypes. I was pushed out into the community to partner with others, many of whom were from different backgrounds with very different stories. I had to prioritize my service work when at times I would have rather been at the Bullet Hole with friends. These experiences guided me to “think critically and act compassionately,” as the Center for Public Service encourages. This is a motto I now repeat often among the young people I teach.

Opportunities like these led me to take chances and try new experiences once I graduated. I initially worked for a television network in New York, then went to Capitol Hill to give politics a try, and finally found my current career in teaching and coaching.

I love teaching because I get to use all of the skills I learned and honed at Gettysburg, and I share my love of learning with my students. We talk about literature, technology, and writing daily, and we love reading–especially works by Jerry Spinelli ’63, a Gettysburg graduate himself. My middle school students are in the midst of finding themselves and their passions; they are eager to try new things and curious about the world around them.

In addition, I have the opportunity to share my passion for social justice and service learning with my students through the many service trips we go on together. We reflect on these experiences and break down stereotypes (something I learned from day one at Gettysburg). I also have the opportunity to share my love of athletics through coaching field hockey and lacrosse. We discuss leadership opportunities, and I recall my experience as a Delta Gamma and a member of Alpha Phi Omega. I use my experiences to coach my students through tough days and great days. We all have our Gettysburg stories, and I am certain they have translated into many careers and make our world better in so many ways.

Gettysburg taught me to “do great work” through a diverse range of experiential opportunities. Gettysburg allowed me and continues to allow all of its students to try new things, step outside of their comfort zones, challenge themselves to be involved in many different areas. Cheers to the liberal arts!

I feel lucky that I was able to experience all of these challenges and now share them with my own students. I have had terrific experiences with externships, bringing undergraduates into my classroom. So to all those who have moved to Gettysburg College this week, to those returning students, and to all of our BOLD alumni, I hope that you can continue to build your own Gettysburg experiences, continue to “do great work,” and continue to “think critically and act compassionately.”

Article by Louisa Polos ’08, BOLD Council Chair

Tweet and post your Gettysburg pride in Forbes’ #MyTopCollege contest

We asked and you answered!

Less than three weeks ago, we asked Gettysburgians to share what exactly is so special about their alma mater with Forbes’ #MyTopCollege contest. Heading into week three of the contest, Gettysburg is not only leading the Mid-Atlantic region, but the College is also ranked 5th in the nation out of all colleges and universities participating in the contest!

My Top College Week 3 rankings

So what are our alums talking about on Twitter and Instagram?

Our first-class faculty has been getting plenty of love as students and alumni discuss the impact their passionate professors have had on their academic careers:

And of course, we can’t talk about our professors without discussing the long-lasting impacts of a liberal arts education:

Opportunities abound in and out of the classroom, and Gettysburgians have been sharing the ones that have impacted them the most:

Gettysburg instills a love of life-long learning in all members of our community:

It is impossible to experience such a transformational experience as Gettysburg College provides its students without making lifelong friends along the way:

Servo and it’s famous chocolate cookies have been getting plenty of love:

All of these experiences are what make Gettysburg our home from the moment we step on campus our first year:

We know that our students and alumni are proud of their alma mater. Let’s keep the spirit going and show Forbes why Gettysburgians know how to do great work! Simply tweet or post to Twitter or Instagram why you love Gettysburg College. Tag the College’s account (@gettysburg) and the contest hashtag (#MyTopCollege) to enter!

Check out more contest coverage on Storify.

The contest ends on July 30, with Forbes using the #MyTopCollege content to compliment their annual 100 Top Colleges coverage.

Why do you love Gettysburg College? #MyTopCollege @Gettysburg


***Update: Gettysburg College is now leading the Mid-Atlantic Region! You’re doing great work! Let’s keep the tweeting going #MyTopCollege @Gettysburg.

We know our alums love their alma mater. They bleed orange and blue, donate both their time and money to the College, and continue to make this institution Gettysburg great.

But what, specifically, about the College is the reason why our alums love it so much? Whatever it is, we want to hear about it!

Forbes is running its second annual #MyTopCollege campaign and is asking students and alumni alike why they love their college. This campaign compliments their Top College’s rankings, which is based on outcomes – graduation rates, student satisfaction, post-graduate success, and student debt.

They also want to hear the personal stories behind these outcomes, and we know that our alums can share it with them!

So why do you love Gettysburg College?

You know the importance of doing great work in every aspect of your lives:

In fact, our alums can be found all over the globe, leading great lives and doing great work, while also giving back to their alma mater:

Whenever your thoughts return to your dear alma mater, it is probably to memories of our beautiful campus, and the many benefits of its location:

You’ve built close relationships with the faculty and administration, and the impact they’ve had on your life has been nothing short of transformational:

Of course, where would any of our alums be without the countless opportunities that have enabled you to become Gettysburg great:

Perhaps more than anything, you’ll remember the campus traditions that have made Gettysburg College your home, and turned friends into family:

No matter what the reason is why you love your alma mater, we want you to share it!

Simply tweet your reasons and include the #MyTopCollege hashtag as well as the @Gettysburg College twitter handle, and your tweet will be included in the contest.

Happy tweeting, Gettysburgians!

Article by Kasey Varner ’14

15 tips for the Class of 2015

Commencement is an exciting time for any Gettysburg College senior. Although it’s the end of an era, the years ahead will certainly bring about new career opportunities and personal adventures. Below, check out the BOLD Council’s 15 tips to making the most of your alumni status.

1.  Be confident about your Gettysburg education. There’s no doubt it will serve you well throughout your career!

2.  Step out of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

3.  Give back financially. Every donor counts!

4.  Volunteer your time by providing career opportunities, volunteering for KARE, or participating in G-bites.

5.  Join a regional club so that you can meet other Gettysburgians in your area.

6.  Go to send-offs and other Gettysburg events in your city.

7.  Return to Gettysburg. It will rejuvenate and inspire you.

8.  Walk through a renovated building and see what new things are happening on campus.

9.  Keep in touch with your friends and professors.

10.  Continue building your Gettysburg network.

11.  Wear Gettysburg clothing — you never know what connections you will make!

12.  Live somewhere different for a few years and gain new experiences.

13.  Take the road less traveled — it may help you discover what you are most passionate about.

14.  Follow Gettysburg (including BOLD!) on social media.

15.  Always Do Great Work!

Meet our new BOLD Council members

Each spring the Bold Council undergoes a thorough nomination process to elect new members into the vacant positions on the Council. Each new member will serve a three-year term. This year we were pleased to be able to offer six positions. We had a very strong applicant pool and are excited to help you “Get to Know” our new members. Sarah CardwellOur first new member, Sarah Cardwell, is a current senior (Class of 2015), graduating in May with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Environmental Studies with a concentration in policy and management. She has a minor in  French and was able to spend the spring semester of 2014 abroad in Paris. At Gettysburg, Sarah has been involved in planning campus events through the Campus Activities Board, coordinating Orientation, and helping out with alumni events such as Send-Offs and Reunion Weekend. Her three favorite Gettysburg traditions are Orientation (in particular the First-Year Walk), Get Acquainted Day, and Send-Offs. As an alumna, Sarah is looking forward to embracing tradition and the legacy of Gettysburg. She is excited to be a member of BOLD and looks forward to engaging fellow classmates and recent graduates. Sarah’s experience working at large alumni events will be incredibly valuable to the BOLD Council in the upcoming years. Liz WilliamsLiz Williams, Class of 2013, currently works as a Donor Recognition Specialist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. At Gettysburg, Liz was involved in Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, the Mercury arts and literary magazine, and the Wind Symphony. Her favorite Gettysburg memories include Servo brunch, helping out with Get Acquainted Day, Springfest, and Snowball. In joining the BOLD Council, Liz is excited to help spread the word about all the great work that is going on at Gettysburg today. Liz also has experience planning alumni events and we are looking forward to her sharing her ideas with the Council. John CarneyJohn Carney, Class of 2012, works in claim litigation for a major insurance company in Baltimore. He plans to attend law school part-time in the next year. At Gettysburg, he was involved with the Center for Public Service, serving as a program coordinator for South Central Community Action Programs of Adams County and the D.C. Outfitters Program. Additionally, he was Vice President of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, and served as the public relations and philanthropy chair. John’s favorite Gettysburg experience was leading the same ASCENT trip his senior year that he participated in as an incoming freshman. He was proud to be able to give a group of incoming first-year students the same amazing introduction to Gettysburg that he received. As a member of the BOLD Council, John is excited to give back and stay connected to the College and assist other alumni in doing the same. Shannon CallahanShannon Callahan is a current a senior at Gettysburg (Class of 2015). As a member of the Aramark Accelerate to Leadership Program, she plans to move to D.C. upon graduation and work as a Conference Planning Senior Specialist for the Georgetown Hotel and Conference Center. At Gettysburg, Shannon has been involved with Greek Life, even interning with the Office of Student Activities and Greek Life. She is a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and for two years served on the Panhellenic Council as the VP of Recruitment. Shannon is excited to work with alumni and give back to the Gettysburg community as a member of the BOLD Council. Arielle DistasioArielle Distasio, Class of 2012, currently lives in Arlington, Virginia, and works as a Management and Program Analyst for the Department of Justice. At Gettysburg, Arielle was involved with the Gettysburgian, Mercury, and Speak Up Write Out Media Conference. During her senior year, she was chosen as the co-editor-in-chief of both the Gettysburgian and the Mercury. Her favorite Gettysburg experience was student teaching. She notes that being able to motivate and teach 100 amazing 11th graders in their English class every day while balancing her own responsibilities as a student was the most difficult and most rewarding thing she has ever done. Arielle is excited to join the BOLD Council in order to continue to strengthen the Gettysburg network. She credits this network for her career, citing that it made her feel welcomed in a new city. Today, she is excited to give back and help further build connections with young alumni. Johnny NelsonJohnny Nelson, Class of 2013, currently lives in Gettysburg and works as the Assistant Director of Annual Giving, Student Programs at Gettysburg. As a student, he was a member of the Men’s Tennis Team, worked as a student caller for the Phonathon, and was very involved with the History Department.  This coming fall, Johnny will be entering the Ph.D. program at Notre Dame University with a fellowship in Early American History. Johnny is excited to shift from his work on the administrative side, to a new role as an alumni volunteer. We are excited to gain Johnny’s experience working with alumni at Gettysburg.  Article by Allie Sfekas Demers ’08, BOLD Council