Michael DeSantis '18

Hi there, everyone!

Friday was National Decision Day, when deposits and commitments are due to colleges around the country. This also means that the incoming Holy Cross class, the Class of 2019, is mostly assembled at this point.

Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to work with many members of this incoming class through my volunteer position with the Admissions Office Outreach Program. To the new Crusaders out there I would like to say that it has been a privilege getting to know you and that I look forward to seeing you on the Hill next year.

On the evening before the Accepted Students Open House, I joined four other current Holy Cross students, several Admissions Office members, and Dean Margaret Freije in welcoming out of town students at a reception at the Worcester Art Museum. It was great to attend the same event that I had attended a year earlier as an incoming student and to interact with students and their families in a very social environment. This reception not only highlighted a gem of Holy Cross’ hometown, the Worcester Art Museum, but also the diversity of Holy Cross students’ hometowns. There were current students from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago as well as new student families from Dallas, Atlanta, and Cincinnati.

Of course, the main event of the weekend was the Open House. On the day of the Open House, I cheered on new students as they arrived at the Hart Center, directed families around campus, and answered student questions as a member of a student panel. I excitedly discussed some of my favorite parts of my Holy Cross experience such as life in the residence halls, Montserrat, and the history department. I was thrilled to be asked many insightful questions by the new Crusaders, to hear one family thank me for the insights provided in this blog, and to hear one father exclaim “I love the enthusiasm!” after I responded to a question about my level of fondness for Montserrat with an energetic “Oh, I love Montserrat!”

Welcoming accepted students and their families at the Hart Center

Welcoming accepted students and their families at the Hart Center

Following the Open House, I also hosted a prospective incoming student for an overnight visit. This visit included socializing with other overnight guests, breakfast in Kimball, and two shadowed classes. My guest, John, and I connected over our shared love of Irish culture, history, and John Green books as well as our experiences in Christian Brothers’ high schools and Boy Scouts (we are both Eagle Scouts). I also hosted another guest, Jerome, the next night and I was able to take him to one of my favorite activities at Holy Cross, the resource hours of a Wheeler RA named Emily. Jerome, my friends, and I shared stories and laughs until the O’Kane clocktower’s hands had almost reached midnight. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to host the two student visits and even more excited to hear that both John and Jerome have now committed to attend Holy Cross!

Speaking of Admissions related happenings that thrilled me, I was recently hired as an Admissions Tour Guide! Starting next year, my Admissions outreach work will include showing prospective students and their families around my beautiful home on Mount Saint James while discussing my own experiences here, much as I do in this blog.

Thanks for reading, everyone! To new Crusaders and members of the Class of 2019 I would like to say: Welcome to our community! Welcome to our family! Welcome to Holy Cross!

Until next time, take care, everyone.


Hi there, everyone!

Last Sunday my Montserrat class left the confines of the Hill and headed to the significantly flatter land of New York City for a fieldtrip.

The main event of our fieldtrip was a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. Led by a pair of art history majors, we viewed and discussed several paintings before breaking into small groups to explore America’s largest art museum on our own. Several friends and I viewed galleries focusing on modern, African, and ancient Greek art, all the while combining serious art viewing with light-hearted photo taking. Between the tour and our own wanderings, we saw works by Van Gogh, Cézanne, Seurat, Monet, Manet, and Jackson Pollock.

Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)

Jackson Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)

Leaving the Met, my group walked down the streets of Manhattan on a beautifully sunny but windy and cool March afternoon. We walked along Central Park for several blocks with trees to our right and bustling New York traffic to our left. We then worked our way further into the sprawling cityscape making stops to peruse New York souvenirs stores.

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Eventually we satisfied a group wide desire to treat ourselves to an Empire City staple, New York-style pizza. Despite filling ourselves on the warm, crispy, cheesy, and generously topped pizza, we decided to stop for coffee and cheesecake at a nearby café. I should say my friends stopped for cheesecake and coffee because I was full after eating two large slices of pizza and was more than content to limit myself to a frothy cappuccino.

New York-style pizza in New York

New York-style pizza in New York

After enjoying the three big New York food groups of pizza, cheesecake, and coffee, we started making our way back to the Met via Central Park. Just before entering the park we came across a sidewalk bookstand. Being a group of Holy Cross students, we succumbed to the draw of literature and we spent several minutes reading through the available titles.


Books on the tables of a Manhattan bookstand

Once inside the park, I quickly grew to appreciate the merits of a natural sanctuary inside the manufactured buzz of the City. We climbed a rock, took a break from our busy day, and took pictures to serve as reminders of our trip. Descending from the rock but not from the pinnacle of our youth, we returned to the Met and boarded our bus back to our own Hill.

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The goal of Montserrat is to create a living-learning program that builds knowledge and communities. Thanks to a bizarre combination of art, pizza, coffee, earthbound boulders, and a high-resolution camera our Montserrat trip to New York no doubt enabled us to learn and to live.

Until next time, take care, everyone.



*Big, special, and copious thanks go out to my friends Cat and Maxine for letting me share some of their pictures from our trip!

Hi there, everyone!

Because I volunteer in the Admissions Office, I have a very up-to-date knowledge of the application schedule. I know, therefore, that admission decisions for the Class of 2019 were released yesterday. I would like to echo the sentiments of the latest Admissions Office blog post by both welcoming newly accepted students and congratulating everyone who applied to Holy Cross.

Several weeks ago, I talked about filling out my own applications as admission applicants finalized their own applications. Fittingly, I also received my application decisions in the past week. I am excited, humbled, and thankful to tell you all that I have been chosen as a Resident Assistant, Charles Carroll Fellow, and Alternate Summer Orientation Leader!

As the new RA of Mulledy 3 Central, I will have a chance to work with a hallway of first-year students next year. I will be assisting with my residents’ transition to the college while also planning community events for the residents of my hallway and the entire Mulledy building. I am good friends with the new Head Resident Assistant of Mulledy, one of my current RAs, and the rest of the incoming staff is full of familiar faces. Needless to say, I am looking forward to not only being an RA but having the opportunity to work with the new Mulledy staff. Hopefully, I will see some of you, dear readers, around Mulledy next year (in which case, please feel free to say “Hi!”).

As a Charles Carroll Fellow, I will be taking a seminar for advanced sophomore students on the role of authority in a democratic and free education system. The Carroll Program will also allow me to interact with scholars from both Holy Cross and other colleges. The other Carroll Fellows and I will also help plan a scholarly conference for next spring.

Lastly, I have been chosen as an Alternate Orientation Leader for Holy Cross’ Summer Gateways Orientation. Though there is no guarantee that I will be given a role during the actual orientation, I am considered to be part of the Orientation team. As a team, we are already preparing to welcome the just admitted members of the Class of 2019 in June. We have eight weekly trainings, with two already completed. The team is diverse, energetic, welcoming, and fully committed to making new Crusaders’ first experience on campus a great one.

To those new Crusaders, I again say congratulations and welcome to Holy Cross! See you on the Hill! To those attending other colleges, I wish you the best of luck as you embark on your college experiences.

Until next time, take care, everyone.


Hi there, everyone!

As I write, the weather is starting to warm up a little on the Hill. Spring Break just ended and it looks like spring weather may not be far behind. The last few weeks have roared by because I have been very busy. Here are some highlights:

WE’RE #1!

In mid-February several news outlets listed Worcester as the “Snowiest City in America.” These reports confirmed what every member of the Holy Cross community already knew, that we are the best…when it comes to snow. If anyone asks you to give them empirical proof that Holy Cross is better than every other college, you can show them this article.

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On a less chilly note, Valentine’s Day was properly celebrated by those of us living in Wheeler Hall thanks to Wheeler House Council. For our February residence hall event, we coordinated a speed dating event to encourage new friendships among residents. The event worked just like any speed dating event with lighthearted questions and precious little time to give an answer. Some of my friends from House Council and I added an extra sweet touch by baking Valentine’s Day themed cupcakes with pink icing and heart shaped sprinkles. Free food and new friends, a classic combination for social event success.



One of Holy Cross’ weekly entertainment events is a two hour musical performance on Tuesday nights called 10-Spot. On Fat Tuesday, the 10-Spot blended the smooth sounds of a student jazz band with the soulful voices of the Holy Cross Chamber Singers. Jazz music, (attempted) swing dancing, and classily clad performers brought a touch of New Orleans Mardi Gras to Holy Cross.

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Continuing the theme of classy attire, the Wheeler resident assistant staff threw an Oscar viewing party complete with formal attire. I put on my best suit and cheered my favorite 2014 movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, to a tie for the most Oscars received by one film. This enthusiasm, of course, made me the obvious choice to explain to my friends the merits of both the film and its eccentric director, Wes Anderson. Though The Grand Budapest did not win the award for Best Picture and though Anderson did not win the award for Best Director, the party was still a blast thanks to a red carpet, our outstanding outfits, and Sean Penn’s now infamous “green card” remark which was so blatantly inappropriate that it left the entire Wheeler Social Space in a state of hysterical disbelief.

Thanks for reading! I am looking forward to the even busier weeks ahead and to telling you all about them.

Until next time, take care, everyone.


Hi there, everyone!

I owe you my apologies, dear readers, because I wrote this post two weeks ago in the days following the Super Bowl but did not post it to the blog. It may be a bit late but I still wanted to share it with you.

When I last posted, we at Holy Cross were bracing for a snow storm. Just as the snow from that storm was being cleared away, we were hit by another storm of beautifully fluffy white snow. In regards to snow removal during and after the storms, I have to send kudos and appreciation to the Holy Cross grounds crew for their dedicated work day and night to clear pathways for walking through the snow. Sincere appreciation and recognition must also be given to the Holy Cross Kimball Hall dining staff who stayed overnight during the worst storm to feed students.

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Blizzard snow!


The next morning. Take a bow, grounds crew.














Students may have been confined to their dorm buildings for a period due to snow, but there was a flurry of activities in the days following the storms.

On Friday I accompanied my girlfriend to the Mr. Worcester Pageant held at a restaurant on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester. The fundraising event for the Working for Worcester project included a buffet dinner and the chance to cheer on our own Mr. Holy Cross. I must confess that upon boarding the shuttle to Shrewsbury Street I realized, “I am the only guy on this school bus.” That said, the event was a blast and entertainment was provided by student groups from Holy Cross and other Worcester area colleges. Sadly, Mr. Holy Cross Nate Chung finished third in the competition but his performance of an original song was a highlight of the night.

On Saturday, I attended Alternate College Theater’s performance of the comedy musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The musical centers on the spelling exploits of six middle school students while examining the dysfunctional home lives of the students and the contest’s adult judges. The production of the show was excellent with a vibrant stage design made of oversize spelling blocks, spot on comedic acting, and pitch perfect music by the cast and stage orchestra. The play was made all the more entertaining because it brought four audience members onto the stage to “compete” with the middle school cast.

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This weekend’s Super Bowl unleashed a flood of Patriots pride around campus. Holy Cross is home to many New England and Massachusetts based Patriots fans that were flying their team’s colors throughout Super Bowl Sunday. Kimball even served Patriots cupcakes. I may be a lifelong Pittsburgh sports and Steelers fan but even I could not pass up Patriots cupcakes. While I did not watch all of the Super Bowl, I knew when the Patriots were doing well because of the excited cheers that shook the residence hall.

A Patriots Super Bowl win leads to happy Patriots fans. Happy Patriots fans lead to a happy campus. I can live with that idea.


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Until next time, take care, everyone.


Hi there, everyone!

Welcome back to the blog and welcome back from winter break!

Winter break is over and life on the Hill has resumed right where it left off beforehand. Well, almost. The new semester, of course, brings with it new classes, activities, and opportunities. My new professors are very personable and the first few classes have been engaging, interesting, and entertaining. For the “spring” semester I am taking an introductory anthropology course and a modern European history course in addition to my French and Montserrat classes which have carried over from last semester.

Memorial Plaza in the snow

Memorial Plaza in the snow


I say “spring” because winter seems to have arrived along with those returning at the conclusion of winter break. Over the weekend, the skies dropped several inches of snow down upon Worcester. For the first time, I got to see Holy Cross in its glistening white snow-covered winter splendor. Additionally, for the first time ever, one of my friends from Florida was able to experience and enjoy a snow storm. A smile of pure child-like joy adorned her face as she made her first snowman and went “sledding” for the first time.

Snow blankets the Holy Cross campus

Snow blankets the Holy Cross campus

I say “sledding” because no sleds were involved in our darting descents down the Mount St. James hillside. Lacking proper sleds but in no way lacking hills to sled on, several friends and I decided to use broken down boxes salvaged from the recycling as makeshift sleds. Surprisingly, the boxes not only worked as sleds but managed to do so with quite a bit of success. We managed to fit two people to a box on several rides and the boxes held together for over an hour of “sledding.” Alas, all good things must come to an end and I finished my final run down the hill sliding on the seat of my pants after my “sled” ripped in two.

My "sled" after its final slide.

My “sled” after its final slide

With a blizzard raging across New England over the next few days, even more snow is on the way. As I write, the snow has only started to fall but classes are already cancelled for tomorrow and students are being asked to stay in their residence halls. It looks like I will have lots of time for bonding with my fellow Wheeler residents and blogging over the next few days.

Maybe winter break is not over after all.

Until next time, bundle up and take care, everyone.


Hi there, everyone!

A special welcome today goes out to all the students finishing their applications for the Regular Decision deadline on Thursday. I remember how stressful the last few days of application season can be from my application experience last year. To all of you applying this year or in the future I wish you the best of luck.

In a show of solidarity with my readership I will also be spending the next few days filling out Holy Cross applications. I am applying for two positions at Holy Cross for which applications are due later this month. Keep your fingers crossed, dear readers, and you may see quite a bit of me during your first year on the Hill.

I feel like we could all use a bit of a breather from the stress and work of applications, so let’s take a collective blog study break to talk about…study breaks. As I talked about in my last post, there were plenty of holiday themed events for study breaks during the December rush. However, there were several other study breaks throughout the month. One of my favorites was a “pet therapy” session that brought adorable dogs (and lots of smiles) to Holy Cross. Sadly, at least in my feline loving opinion, the cats that were scheduled to be at the event could not make it because of snow.

Midnight Brekafast in Crossroads

Midnight Brekafast in Crossroads

The most popular study break for finals week at Holy Cross was, as it is most every semester, midnight breakfast. On the Sunday night before finals started Kimball Dining Hall and the Jesuit community served students pancakes, eggs, and other breakfast goodies. Admittedly, the event started at 8:30 PM and ended before the clock on O’Kane tower had struck midnight, but it was still delightful eating pancakes and home fries with my friends after dinner. Each night of finals week featured smaller midnight breakfasts in Crossroads. Though these events were smaller, students still packed into Crossroads and formed lines the likes of which are usually reserved for sporting events, concerts, and the parking lot of a Best Buy on Black Friday.

Is this Black Friday or Crossroads Midnight Breakfast?

Is this Midnight Breakfast or Black Friday?

Thanks for taking this study break with me everyone. Best of luck with the rest of your applications!

Until next time, take care, everyone.


Hi there, everyone!

The last month was understandably a busy time for me as the end of the semester brought a multitude of assignments, papers, and exams. Luckily, the last month of the term also brought signs and celebrations of the Christmas season to provide a much needed boost to student morale.

Kimball was the first campus location to embrace the holiday season with a giant Christmas tree in the dining hall entrance greeting students on their return from Thanksgiving Break. Over the first few weeks of December the Kimball tree was joined by wreathes adorning several buildings, notably the porches of Fenwick and O’Kane Halls. At night the trees on the Hoval glistened with white lights and a vitality that belied their bare winter branches. The decorating spirit even managed to overcome the Admissions Office and the world’s most Holy Cross Christmas tree welcomed visitors to the Hill.


Kimball Entrance

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Christmas Lights on the Hoval


Admissions Christmas Tree









Speaking of decorating, one of Holy Cross’ annual Christmas traditions is a Decorating Competition between the residence halls.  As a member of House Council for Wheeler Hall, I helped decorate my hall’s social space as the setting from A Charlie Brown Christmas. We didn’t place in the competition, but we had a great time decorating the social space and acting out the film’s major scenes. The hanging snowflakes, ceiling ornaments, and paper Christmas trees added Christmas cheer to the social space for the rest of the semester.


Wheeler Hall Christmas Decorating Team

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Charlie Brown Tree Lot

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Paper Christmas Trees in Hallway









I also enjoyed the holiday traditions of the campus Christmas tree lighting and the Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols for the first time. The Christmas tree lighting featured performances by the Chamber Singers and a cappella groups on the O’Kane Hall porch. Carols were sung for entertainment, Christmas cookies were eaten for enjoyment, and hot chocolate was gladly gulped down for warmth before the lights came on to illuminate the trees. Finally, Lessons and Carols continued the Christmas celebration with elegant performances of traditional songs by the college choir and orchestra in St. Joseph’s Chapel.

Fools on the Hill Sing Carols

Fools on the Hill Sing Carols

Tree Lighting (4)

Christmas Trees and Nativity Outside O’Kane Hall









Lessons and Carols

Lessons and Carols in the Chapel

The holiday season may have ended last week with New Year’s and the Feast of the Epiphany but not without being thoroughly celebrated at Holy Cross.

Until next time, take care, everyone.


Hi there, everyone!

Nearing the stressful end of semester rush, I look back at a recent opportunity I had to take a step back, relax, and reflect.

The freshman Escape Retreat, recommend by my summer orientation leader, allowed me to relax and meet new friends. The two day retreat, held at a retreat center in New Hampshire, allowed me to reflect on my first few months at Holy Cross and my goals for my remaining time on the Hill.

Holy Cross Class of 2018 Escape Retreat

The weekend featured group activities, fitting for a Retreat with a theme of “companionship.” Friday began with dinner and reflection before concluding with a campfire under the clear and starlit sky. However, many of us lingered in the company of our new companions until the early hours of Saturday morning. We sang songs with only the New England snow, the Milky Way, and a dying fire for an audience. Then we ended the night with a group game that served to build camaraderie between retreat attendees, both freshmen and upperclassman leaders.

The lake at Toah Nipi Retreat Center, site of the Escape Retreat

On Saturday, the group activities assumed a more serious and more meaningful tone. Most of the day was spent working in small groups. It was during this time that I got to know several classmates well. The retreat concluded with two affirmation activities. During these affirmation activities, students commended the qualities or actions of other group members. My conversations with fellow students and the affirmation activities reminded me that Holy Cross is a community of open, caring, and supportive individuals. Several weeks after the retreat, I include among my friends several of the retreat companions who I had the joy of meeting on the retreat.

At this stressful time with finals in the near future, my memories of the Escape Retreat and the friendships I formed bring a smile to my face. I hope the same can be said for my new companions.

Until next time, take care, everyone.


Your companion,


Hi there, everyone!

I am sorry for the delay between updates, but I have been busy since I returned from Fall Break. Here are some highlights from the last three weeks on the Hill:


The weekend after Fall Break was Family Weekend, and my parents and twin brother came to visit Holy Cross. This visit was my family’s first visit during my time as a Holy Cross student, and I was finally able to show them my new home. After touring the Holy Cross campus, my family and I enjoyed the Fall Choir Concert, which featured several of my friends. Throughout the remainder of the weekend, we were entertained by other musical performances and treated to fall foods including one of my favorites, kettle corn.

Family Weekend festivities on the Hoval

Families enjoy Family Weekend festivities on the Hoval.


Although fall brought colder temperatures to Holy Cross, it also added vibrant fall color to campus and the surrounding New England landscape. The trees on Linden Lane turned stunning shades of red and yellow which glistened in the sunlight of late afternoon. Not to be outdone, the hills surrounding campus rolled towards the horizon in shades of yellow, red, and orange. However, my favorite fall sight proved to be the red ivy covering Dinand Library and Fenwick Hall.

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The Dinand ivy flutters in the soft fall breeze.

The Dinand ivy displays seasonal spirit.

Fall envelops O’Kane Hall and the trees beside Linden Lane.












Additionally, several dining locations and students organizations have had fall themed food (pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin muffins, and apple cider all made welcome appearances), making fall at Holy Cross as delicious as it is beautiful.

Fall Served Kimball Style: Apple Cranberry Crisp, Chocolate Covered Apples, and Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Fall served Kimball style: apple cranberry crisp, chocolate covered apples, and pumpkin spice cupcakes


The last few weeks have featured superlative performances by Holy Cross students in the aforementioned choir concert and the fall play, Cloud 9. Cloud 9 runs through this weekend, and anyone who happens to be in town (perhaps for the upcoming Open House) should plan to attend this riotously hilarious comedy. 

Thanks for reading, folks. Hopefully, you will hear from me again much sooner next time.

Until then, take care, everyone.


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Michael DeSantis '18

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