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I have been an active member of the Newman House at Binghamton University for four years and I can truly say that it has become a home away from home. The Newman House provides a warm and welcoming community where students can share, explore and discover more about themselves and their faith. Over the years, as a member, I have built meaningful and lasting friendships and I have grown both spiritually and socially. In the Newman House, I am a member of the student run music ministry, where I work collaboratively with other musicians to prepare and perform arrangements for weekend masses. By doing this, I am able to combine my passion for music with my Catholic values. Further, I attend "Eat, Pray, Love," where we share a meal on Friday nights and I participate in a group of upperclassman where we discuss compelling topics about our faith and modern society. This spring break I was involved in the mission trip to Philadelphia where we assisted with renovations of low income housing units, supervised students in a community after-school program and supported families by working at the local thrift store in the community rehabilitation center. The Newman House provides numerous opportunities to become involved within the community both on and off campus.

Every time I walk through the doors of the Newman House, I am overcome with feelings of comfort, love and friendship. Sister Rose has wholeheartedly created this unique environment that allows us to feel a part of a second family, when our immediate families are far away. Lastly, as a member of such a kindhearted, intelligent and caring group of people, I have learned to embrace a life where I cherish every moment. The Newman House holds a special place in my heart and my experience here stands as an unforgettable highlight in my undergraduate education at Binghamton University.

Jessica Biagiotti

Towards the end of High School, I had stopped being involved with my parish, and going to mass altogether. I wasn't even that person who only went to mass on Christmas and Easter.

It was when I got to Binghamton University and I met Father Corey and some people from the Newman House at the University Fest that I realized I wanted to get more involved with the Catholic Community on campus. I felt renewed. And I remember people telling me before I went away that there really isn't a strong religious community on college campuses anymore, and that young people just aren't involved. And here, that just wasn't the case.

When you get to college, for a lot of people its the first time you are living away from home and you have a lot of time and choices to make for yourself separate from your parents or friends. And keep in mind your choice to be involved can only be meaningful if you make it on your own. You decide on your friends when you get here and worry about what career and major you want to pursue, important things like that, which will set you up for life. I, like many others chose to come back to the Catholic Church on my own and embrace the faith, some very meaningful and important to me. For some they had already been involved back at home and once they came here, found a thriving and vibrant community at the Newman House, which just continues to grow and become stronger.

I became involved starting my first semester (not the first weekend because I couldn't find the place). My second semester as a freshman I went on retreat and met one of my future roommates, a friend I still keep in contact with, and another who planned events at the Newman House and helped me to get involved more. I wasn't just going to mass every weekend, but I was doing other stuff, both spiritual, social, and service orientated.

When something is important to you, you make time for it-and you spend time doing it because it makes you a better person. And I became that through the Newman House.

For 3 years, I and so many people befriended Father Corey, who lived in the Newman House, and said mass several times during the week and three times during the weekend in the chapel. I met Sister Rose, who became the new minister my senior year, who has been working with both community and student members of the church to continue to improve the programs there now. We worked really hard on getting the Newman Association started, which became an SA chartered organization last semester through the Newman House.

These connections, that make up the community of the Newman House, will be unbreakable and share a special bond in my soul that will stay with me forever even after I leave.

Rhonda Drewes

What was your experience at Newman House?

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