Sophomores carry high hopes for an eventful year

Olivia Pace (left) and her mother haul one end of a sofa to her campus apartment as Olivia starts her sophomore year.

Story by Mike Kilen
Photos by Ralph Freso

GCU News Bureau

As newcomers last year, it wasn’t quite the Grand Canyon University experience they had heard about because of COVID-19 precautions.

Sophomores, welcome to Welcome Week 2021.

“So far, in just one day of welcoming, I’ve noticed the immense capacity of people coming on campus,” said sophomore Jac Trboyevich.

Jac Trboyevich is excited about the year ahead for Havocs.

It could be a new Lopes T-shirt slogan: Immense Capacity 2021.

“Last year it was really limited, and I only saw so many people in a day,” she said. “I’m just really excited to see our community coming back, because it’s really what pulled me to the school.”

She came from Anchorage, Alaska, to study behavioral health but learned some unusual behavior as a Havoc during limited-capacity basketball games last year. It led to a sophomore year of becoming what she labeled a “rookie Havoc leader.”

Trboyevich was busy talking to students at the Havocs’ tent in front of the Student Union on Tuesday.

“A lot of students come here for the student section, the biggest party in basketball,” she said. “The biggest, baddest student section in the nation.”

Director of Welcome Programs Charity Norman said she wanted to focus attention on not just incoming newcomers this Welcome Week but also give sophomores the full “GCU experience” they missed last year.

That includes a plea for them to attend the Club and Community Fair, 5-9 p.m. Wednesday at the Canyon Activity Center.

Vouch Cheng Cheav wants to join student clubs.

Norman would be happy to hear what sophomore Vouch Cheng Cheav had to say as she rolled a cart full of her belongings into Antelope Apartments.

“I expect to join a lot of clubs this year. Last year I didn’t join any. They were hard to find,” said Cheav, an accounting and finance major from Cambodia. “This year they have a club fair so I will be going to that.”

She hopes to join business-oriented clubs and get more connected.

Many sophomores said they noticed two things that were different so far.

“Very high energy,” said Eli Van Zant.

“And there already are a ton of events.”

Last year, the justice studies major said he didn’t even go to a sporting event, and when he moved in, he largely hauled his stuff in solo. This year, he was wearing the purple shirt of move-in volunteers, helping others move into Prescott Hall.

Eli Van Zant is looking forward to sitting indoors while eating at campus restaurants.

But one thing will please him almost as much as going to games.

“Indoor seating at (campus) restaurants. It’s going to be great,” he said.

Two sophomores carrying a large sofa into Sonora Apartments paused to shout over Michael Jackson’s “PYT,” booming out of a nearby speaker. They marveled at the number of people on campus and that you could see their smiling, uncovered faces.

Jaden Bullard and Olivia Pace had pretty basic hopes for this year, after driving from their homes in California.

“More stuff,” Bullard said.

“Campus activities,” Pace added.

“Games,” Bullard said.

And 1, 2, 3, they lifted the sofa and headed for their apartment to start a year that carries some high hopes.

Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-6764.


Related content:

GCU Today: First Impressions: What new students are saying during Welcome Week

GCU Today: Students are eager to get in the Club Sports game

GCU Today: Experiencing the sights, sounds of Welcome Week


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