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Your student's first big (semester) break

You’ve spoken to your child often while she was at school.  She’s been home on breaks. But you should still be ready for a huge change when your student returns home for an entire month after December final exams.

The person your child was in high school, and the person  he or she has become during the first few months of college may surprise you. Roger Keener, director of the Center for Student Wellness, said, “Parents should expect the unexpected when their children return home.”

During the first few months of college students have complete freedom, and many of them change and adapt to their independence.  Amrita Maniram, a  freshman psychology major at St. Bonaventure University, said, “I am definitely not the same person I was when I started college. I feel like I have grown up so much in the past few months. It’s going to be very interesting when I go back home for a whole month.”

Keener said the best thing for a student and parent to do after the student returns home is to sit down and talk about what the parent expects of the student.

“The conversation changes from parent- to-child to adult-to-adult, and sometimes this takes a while because there is a struggle between the parent and the child,” said Keener. Many services are offered at St. Bonaventure University to help students cope with the changes they are going through, including University Ministries and First-Year Experience programs. Still, Keener said, communication is the most important thing.

“Communication is essential when students return home. Parents and students have to discuss their expectations. The old rules may have to change,” said Keener.

Andrea Ailaca, a junior psychology major, said, “I remember when I went back home my freshman year. It felt so different, like I didn’t belong there. It was hard because my parents expected me to come home at a certain time, and wake up early to have breakfast with them. Over the years, though, we have started to adjust.” Carmen Medina, Ailaca’s mother added, “I think I was good at handling your new independence! You’re my baby so it just took some time.”

Change is never easy, and it will take compromise from both parent and student for the coming vacation to go smoothly.  

 -Cristabell Ramdial
Class of 2013

Jean Ehman's Univ 101 students won the
Nov. 15 “Little Princes” FYE Conference Poster Contest. Pictured with the poster is Shanelle Meyer. Other students in the winning class are Tommy Bellucco, Marisa Brossard, Karly Buntich, Danielle Clark, Nick Coyne, Elyse DiLaura, Bobbi Hassett, Mike Loffredo, Victoria Lore, Connor Magnusen, Christine Mooney, Kellen Quigley, Emily Steves, and Madison Thieman. The class consists of journalism/mass communication majors.

Mt. Irenaeus 

Usually when people think of a mountain they think climbing, trailblazing. Mt. Irenaeus may also have those alluring qualities but its main purpose is quite different.

This Mountain, with its shuffling leaves, trickling water and sense of relaxation, is meant to calm the senses, promote inner contemplation and self-reflection.

The Mountain serves as a getaway of sorts for the Bonaventure community, said Maddie Gionet, MMountain coordinator and junior journalism and mass communication major.

Freshman Kate Timony agreed.

“If you’re stressed, it’s nice to go and get a home-cooked meal and talk to the friars,” said Timony, member of Mountain community leaders (MCL) and a biology major. “You can really talk to them about anything. They were the first people who really reached out to me when I started here.”

Some of the more timeless programs up at the Mountain are the evenings or overnights away. The Mountain and the friars present many opportunities for people of all faiths and backgrounds to enjoy all the Mountain has to offer. Professors, sports teams and any individual from within or outside the Bonaventure community can come and experience the wonders of the Mountain, said Br. Kevin Kriso, O.F.M., Coordinator of Mt. Irenaeus Gospel, Manner of Life and Ministry for St. Bonaventure University.

Evenings away are one of the more popular ways students can first become acquainted with the Mountain. Professors can choose to have their classes come to the Mountain any time throughout a semester, Gionet said. “The professor will have a theme planned or will help plan the theme with a MCL member,” she said. “Then they use that theme throughout the night in the chapel along with activities they may choose to do.”

Open evenings and overnights are when there really isn’t a specific theme planned, but just an opportunity for students of all backgrounds and majors to come and have some time away. Students and faculty can bring work to do or they don’t have to bring anything. All the friars ask is that students come with an open mind.

“You get to know people on a deeper level, you get to share in experiences that you never would usually get into,” Gionet said. “It’s one of those places to really get that community experience you’re always hearing about.”

On theme nights, the Mountain has something special. For women’s overnights, women can enjoy desserts and chocolates while bonding together on the exclusive night away. Men enjoy bonfires and bonding during their weekend. And for those who like contemplation, the Franciscan Identity or silent overnights are perfect.

If students stay overnight, they can stay in one of the cabins or in the House of Peace where the friars of the Mountain live.

“You don’t need to be religious to go up there … just need to go up there and be,” Br. Kevin said.

When students come up to the Mountain the friars do ask if the students could help with some service tasks.

The activities can depend on the season. Sometimes students may be asked to tend to the garden, pick up some lumber for the fire, chop wood or clean up the trails. Most of the time, the friars will ask students to help prepare the meal for everyone to enjoy.

Gionet commented on how the Mountain has affected her life.

“It’s good for me to just go and reorganize my thoughts and reevaluate my life path and figure out what’s truly important,” she said. “I get an appreciation for life and for the simple things. Being able to go somewhere, shut my cell phone off and not answer emails, go to a meeting or do homework, I can just really take some time to breathe.”

Everyone is welcome to enjoy the experience only Mt. Irenaeus can offer.

“Parents are very, very welcome to come up to the Mountain at any time,” Br. Kevin said.

If students are interested in attending an evening away or an overnight, they can sign up in the Thomas Merton Center and the University Ministry staff takes care of transportation.

“I think that before you graduate it’s important to experience the Mountain,” Gionet said. “We have seniors who visit the Mountain during their last fall or spring semester and regret not being up there sooner.”


-Megan O’Donnell
Class of 2013

Residence Halls Close on Saturday December 17 at 10:00 a.m.

All students must make arrangements to leave campus within 24 hours of their last final exam. Residence Halls will be closed and locked on Saturday, December 17 at 10:00 a.m. for Winter Break. Students will not be allowed to stay on campus past the closing date and time.

Any student remaining in the residence halls after the closing time will be assessed a fine.

Shopping for your student this holiday season

The holidays are coming and it is time to get that special gift for your student. Some very special gifts can be obtained at or near St. Bonaventure University.

One idea that's likely to please is a gift card for the University bookstore. Gift cards are available in amounts ranging from $25 to $500. The card will assist your student in buying textbooks for next semester, school supplies or Bonaventure clothing.

“I would love a pair of sweat (pants) because I work out all the time at the gym,” said Adriana Tuarez, a junior majoring in business information systems. A gift card would help a student to purchase the variety of clothing available at the bookstore.

Gift cards may be purchased from the bookstore in person or online.

The bookstore isn't the only place to buy Bonaventure clothing. Allegany's Studio 4 East and Olean's Sports Locker will also offer you the chance to equip your student – or other members of your family – with hoodies, T-shirts and more.

 Café la Verna sells gift certificates to purchase specialty beverages or sandwiches at the deli. Gift certificates are sold at the Café.

Alex Henry, a junior majoring in gerontology and minoring in theology, said the Café la Verna certificates would come in handy if your student has no available cash, Flex Dollars or Bona Bucks.

“I would love to have this as a holiday gift and be able to buy coffee when I don't have the actual money to spend,” said Henry.

And the choices for good food for your student don't stop with on-campus locations. You may want to consider some gifts from restaurants that are often visited by Bonaventure students. Two of those restaurants – Linger Longer Cafe and Applebees – have websites where you could buy gift cards for your student.

Three other Allegany restaurants could also provide gifts that your student would welcome. They are Main Street Sweets, 61 East Main St., Allegany, 716-373-7933; Don Lucho's, 76 West Main St., 716-372-0900; and Randy's Up The River, 3767 South Nine Mile Road, 716-372-9606.

Think your student might like something other than food? How about art classes to provide a break during the semester? The Ink Well, now at 51 West Main St., Allegany, offers a schedule of classes aimed at everyone from beginners to experienced artists looking to refine their techniques. The Ink Well can be found online at

And if outdoor fun is more likely to appeal, check out the offerings at nearby Holiday Valley. The ski resort offers a variety of activities for skiers, snowboarders and tubing enthusiasts. They can be found online at

Warm weather relaxation can be had as near as the Office of Student Activities, which offers a package of tickets to the nearby Carmike Cinema complex.

“Movie tickets are always expensive and it would be nice to relax and enjoy a show,” said Tuarez.

“For a student, it is good to have these items as holiday gifts,” said Henry. “College students appreciate the fact that their parents are helping out and it makes the holidays feel a lot more special.”

-Ariana Harvin-Mahiques
Class of 2014


Upcoming events on campus include:

Thursday, December 8 – Christmas Jazz in Café La Verna
Friday, December 9 – Last day of classes
Saturday, December 10 – Reading Day
Saturday, December 10 – Women’s Basketball vs. Buffalo
Saturday, December 10 – Men’s Basketball vs. Canisius
Monday-Friday, December 12-16 – Undergraduate Final Exams – To view a final exam schedule, click here.     
Friday, December 16 - Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving vs. Canisius
Tuesday, December 20 – Men’s Basketball vs. North Carolina State at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester
Saturday, January 14 – Residence Halls open at 1 p.m.
Saturday, January 14 – Women’s Basketball vs. St. Louis
Monday, January 16 – Classes begin


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