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Evergreens and Their Outstanding Impact on Loyola’s Community

Evergreens and Their Outstanding Impact on Loyolas Community

The following represents the opinion of the student reporter and does not represent the views of Loyola University Maryland, the Greyhound, or Loyola University’s Department of Communication.

I often reflect on my first semester at Loyola and just how lonely I was feeling. Being a member of the class of 2024, we began college online. All of my new classmates were simply boxes on a Zoom screen and this environment prevented me and many others from finding our home at Loyola. At least, I originally thought it would. I found that my Messina class was just the opposite of what I had imagined. It was a group of people who cared about each other and, despite the format, were able to bridge this gap and form meaningful connections. My Evergreens brought us the community we so desperately craved and they made us feel like we actually had a place on campus. This experience is what motivated me to be an Evergreen and what made me believe that this position is so crucial to success for all students on Loyola’s campus. The Messina program is what makes Loyola such an incredibly special place to call home.

For those of you who are unaware, Loyola defines the Messina program as a first-year experience, unique to Loyola, that helps students adjust to college and puts them on the path to success. The Evergreen, someone like me, aids first-year students in this crucial transition and works alongside a professor and a Loyola staff member to make it the best experience possible. These three people are the first friendly faces a first year has on campus, the beginning of their Loyola community.

When applying to be an Evergreen, I knew I wanted to help incoming students as much as my Evergreens helped me. Together, they shaped my experience and introduced me to some of my closest friends today. I wanted to make that impact on other people. 

Alex Bjornson ‘24 shared a similar experience when she applied for Evergreens, “I just like to help people and Evergreens allowed me to not only help people find their place at a college I absolutely love, but it also allowed me to meet such amazing people, Evergreens and first years alike.” 

Those not involved in the program catch only a small glimpse of the Evergreen community. This select group of Loyola students are some of the most caring and driven individuals I have ever met. We all genuinely care about each other and give all of our support to our first years. 

Evy Marquis ‘23 speaks on her relationship with her fellow Evergreens, “My favorite thing about being an Evergreen is definitely the community, both in terms of the close friendships you are able to make with other Evergreens, and in terms of the community you create with your first years and working group!”

For first years, Messina can often come off as an extra class or a waste, keeping them away from homework or friends. Some treat it like an inconvenience. What they don’t realize is simply how important Messina can be, and how much work their Evergreens put into providing them with a great first-year experience. In my opinion, you get out of Messina what you put into it. Paying attention in the sessions, asking your Evergreen questions, and engaging with your Messina peers will show to a student why the program is so important in their college transition. 

Applying to be an Evergreen is truly one of the best decisions I have made since coming to Loyola. Whether it be the people I’ve met or the community I’ve developed with my own first-years, this position has tested my abilities to the fullest and has shown me just how much I love Loyola. Bjornson, like many others in her position, also speaks highly of the Evergreen program, “This is such a unique, rewarding experience I don’t fully believe you can get anywhere else.”

I urge first-year students to get the most out of the Messina experience and soak up all the knowledge from their Evergreen, professor, or mentor. Hopefully, this experience convinces you to join the forest and apply to Evergreens at the end of the semester. This program is unique to Loyola and makes our campus incredibly special. I’m so glad to call this school home.

Featured Image Courtesy of Jordan Durkin.

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