MYTH EXAMINED: “Most Gonzaga students are Catholic.” According to data compiled by the Office of Institutional Research at Gonzaga, in 2011 only 49.3 percent of undergraduates reported they were Roman Catholic. Christina Turner, associate director of the Office of Institutional Research, pointed out that Gonzaga students belong to 26 different religions.
Located in Spokane
FULL-TIME UNDERGRAD ENROLLMENT: 4,805
RESIDENT UNDERGRAD TUITION: $33,160
NON-RESIDENT TUITION: n/a
YEAR FOUNDED: 1887
KNOWN FOR: Its Jesuit tradition and emphasis on educating the whole person — mind, body and spirit. One of only three law schools in the state of Washington.
Emma Anderson, an incoming junior, agrees that Gonzaga is not as Catholic as she expected, saying: “There are opportunities to be involved, but there’s no pressure.” These opportunities range from classes and retreats to mass on campus, but Gonzaga is working to broaden its spiritual opportunities for students. In fact, the University Ministry Department just added a Presbyterian minister available to offer spiritual guidance. The Unity Multicultural Education Center, Gonzaga staff says, supports all students.
Verdict: Busted. Fewer than half of the students at Gonzaga are Catholic. And that doesn’t even take into account students who say they’re Catholic but don’t act very Catholic at all.
MYTH EXAMINED: “Students will do anything for courtside seats.” How did Gonzaga become a finalist for the Naismith Student Section of the Year contest? One word: commitment. For Gonzaga students, basketball games consist of standing in line for tickets (which can last all morning) and then standing in line to enter the game (which can last for days). What’s a few days sleeping on ice or snow if the seat is that much closer to the action? “Tent city” is no myth. You’ll see the die-hard fans packing mattresses, sleeping bags, space heaters, snacks and study materials across campus. Because the line doesn’t wait.
Verdict: Confirmed. Seats call for desperate measures.
Gonzaga’s best-kept secrets: Many Gonzaga students agreed that there are two main events new Zaglets won’t want to miss. First: orientation. Expect a few surprises — we won’t give them away. The second best-kept secret, according to Gonzaga upperclassmen: retreats. The University Ministry Department prides itself on providing retreats that often put aside “religion,” instead concentrating on “faith,” in order to meet the various spiritual needs of the student body.
More tips for success (that involve basketball): According to many Gonzaga students, the top tip to enjoying Gonzaga is getting involved in the campus community. But with a diverse array of clubs, religious activities, intramurals and volunteer opportunities — all within a small student body — how do you get involved? Start with basketball. Current students say they built community at Gonzaga by going to sports events and camping out for games, and many advise new students to sign up for clubs and choose the ones to stick with later.
Top complaint: Although the registration process is designed to give priority to students who have more class credits, some, like incoming junior Emma Anderson, have voiced irritation with certain groups that are awarded early registration benefits. Anderson says she understands the need for athletes to register early, but questions why students who participate in ROTC are not allowed the same benefits.
Why all the drama about registration?
“They want to keep classes small,” says junior Nikki Fugiel. Anderson adds that she likes the small classes but says that she’d “like to take the classes I need, too.”