By Anthony Santino
On Apr. 14, Sacred Heart University President John J. Petillo announced that Sacred Heart’s new residence hall would be named Jorge Bergoglio Hall, after the birth name of Pope Francis.
This falls in place with the university tradition of
naming buildings after model people in the Catholic community.
At the time of that announcement, the residence hall was still under construction.
Now, less than five months after Dr. Petillo’s announcement, the new hall is finished and open to students and residents.
To celebrate the hall’s opening, Sacred Heart held a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony at Jorge Bergoglio Hall on Aug. 30.
Among the numerous special guests in attendance for the ceremony was Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a close friend of Pope Francis.
In speaking to those gathered at the ceremony, Rabbi Skorka exhibited admiration for the Pope, who he has known personally since childhood.
“He uses a simple language, and has a passionate commitment to the poor and the weak people, and a demanding for social justice and mercy,” said Skorka.
However, Jorge Bergoglio Hall isn’t the first Sacred Heart building to be named after a Pope.
Angelo Roncalli Hall was the first building on campus to be to be named after one.
“His [Jorge Bergoglio’s] views align perfectly with our mission to instill our students and other members of the Sacred Heart community with a deep sense of the Catholic intellectual tradition and its emphasis on social justice,” said a statement written in a press release on the Sacred Heart website.
Bergoglio Hall, a three-story, 80,000-square-foot building that accommodates predominantly sophomores and some freshmen, has 216 beds for students and RSA’s.
Some of its notable amenities are shared bathrooms for every two double occupancy bedrooms, twin beds with built in dressers, and a sizable video game classroom to be used for both instructional and recreational use.
The modernity and pristineness of the Bergoglio rooms is already, and unsurprisingly, a popular topic of discussion on campus.
“Everyone says Bergoglio basically looks like a hotel inside,” said junior Madison Loria. “I heard they’re even putting in a CrossFit gym, which will be so cool and nice to have more than one gym on campus.”
Residents of the building are also enjoying the new amenities, as well as the modern bedrooms and ample size.
“I feel extremely lucky, considering I’m a freshman,” said freshman Christopher Sause. “It’s basically like living in a hotel with the huge rooms and it’s just great,” said Sause.
Sophomore Bryan Einstoss, a transfer student from the University of Hartford, is also pleased with the accommodations he has as a resident of Bergoglio, one of them being an upgraded bathroom arrangement.
“I lived in the nicest dorm building in Hartford, and the biggest difference is that [at Hartford] I shared a bathroom with the whole floor,” said Einstoss. “The bathrooms [in Bergoglio] are huge too.”
Some students can agree that the new building’s space is impressive.
“The feature of the hall that impresses me the most is definitely all the space that they have made to facilitate building a community,” said senior resident success assistant Lauren Silver.
The addition of Jorge Bergoglio Hall is a big step in the expansive direction the university is heading in.
With a new nursing facility in construction, the acquisition of the Jewish Senior Services land next to campus, and plans for a new athletic facility, Sacred Heart is putting into motion the idea of continuing to build its already strong community presence.