Pacific students roar back to campus
After 16 months of being away, students roared back to campus on July 17 to participate in Back to Pacific: Ready, Set, Roar!, a special five-week experience for new and returning undergraduates.
Their return was part of University of the Pacific's plan to allow students to come back to campus early, take exciting new classes, meet new friends and engage in fun daily campus activities. The program was largely designed to provide first- and second-year students, who have yet to be part of campus, an opportunity to get a jumpstart on college life.
“Returning to campus feels like coming home,” said ASuop President Scout Cooper-Wilson. “It's been real hard for sure, doing everything from school, work and hanging out with friends online. But, being back on campus and actually being able to go places and see people, it’s incredible.”
Pacific President Christopher Callahan was overflowing with excitement as he and First Lady Jean Callahan welcomed students at a reception in the Don and Karen DeRosa University Center.
“We are so excited to bring our students back a little early to get re-acclimated to campus and have some special experiences,” said Christopher Callahan. “Pacific is a student-centered institution and being able to provide them with the personalized, caring learning environment we are known for means everything. While we still look forward to the full return this fall, there is a palpable sense now, with undergraduates returning for Back to Pacific, that we are becoming whole again.”
Pacific’s 175-acre campus was bustling as students and families explored the newly re-opened William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center, Baun Fitness Center and the Marketplace and Calaveras Coffee located in the DeRosa University Center. Many families posed for selfies and pictures in front of Burns Tower and Faye Spanos Concert Hall.
"It's just so nice to have people back on campus," said Pacific student Abby Wolf. "As an athlete, I was here all last year training and no one was around. Today, being able to walk around and see people makes me feel that Pacific energy again."
Nearly 150 students moved into housing, including residential halls, Greek houses and on-campus apartments. Families and friends lined the sidewalks carrying suitcases, bedding and snacks to stock student's rooms. A barbecue, games, inflatable water slides and an epic water balloon battle on the DeRosa University Center Lawn rounded out the afternoon, followed by a movie under the stars.
"We have been waiting for this for so long and it's nice to be able to see your friends and not worry about whether we are being safe or not," said Pacific pharmacy student Ricky Phillipossian. "It feels like things are slowly going back to normal and it's a good feeling."
To create a safe environment Pacific is requiring all students (undergraduate, graduate and professional) and employees returning to any of the university's three campuses to be vaccinated for COVID-19. In addition, the university is continuing to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and county guidelines for acceptable health and safety practices.
Camryn Scully, a senior on Pacific's women's soccer team, says she is looking forward to the normal day-to-day interactions of campus. “I'm just excited for the little moments, passing by my teammates in the DeRosa University Center when I'm going to eat dinner or seeing them in study hall and just being able to go to class in person and interact with my classmates,” she says. “This experience of the past year has taught me to not take anything for granted. I'm trying to live in the moment and take advantage of everything Pacific has to offer.”