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The Horizon

The Student News Site of Westmont College

The Horizon

The Student News Site of Westmont College

The Horizon

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Welcome to Westmont: Featuring the Augustinian weekend!

Ryan Speight

Though it might be hidden in the mountains of Santa Barbara, the community of Westmont is nothing short of warm and welcoming thanks to its amazing students and staff. Being a community that loves to welcome new faces, one event that Westmont holds is the Augustinian weekend, which consists of prospective students on the Augustinian scholarship coming to visit Westmont via staying with a current student. During this time, the prospective students get to witness and experience many areas of Westmont, but I’ll leave the talking to a couple of students that hosted Augustinians themselves, Cameron Richards and Nicolas Vivanco.

Unfortunately for both of these students, neither could come to their Augustinian weekends in person due to the fact that for them, it was during the time of COVID. However, them being unable to experience it themselves wasn’t going to stop them from giving the Augustinian students they would host anything short of an amazing experience. For Nicolas, he saw it as a good opportunity to show Westmont’s hospitality, commenting, “I relished it to practice hospitality, which we talked about in our Augie seminar last semester, so that became my main goal while hosting an Augie.” For Cameron, he sought to use it as a chance to show the prospective student the life of a Westmont student, saying, “This is the best way that I get to show to a prospective student what it’s like to join in Westmont community, and even if they decide not to come to Westmont, they would still have a chance to enjoy the low-stress environment and have a fun evening.” When a prospective student signs up for the Augustinian program, they’ll certainly never find themselves disappointed in their experience at Westmont when they get to stay with amazing students that seek to give them a hospitable and fun time like Cameron and Nicolas do!

Of course the experience is amazing for the Augustinian visitor, but this program is still a two way street! The experience of being a host has been a blast for both Cameron and Nicolas, being sure that in making their Augustinian guests have fun, they too enjoy themselves to the fullest! For Nicolas, he says that he enjoys the opportunity to serve others and show the love of Westmont to this prospective student, commenting, “I really liked the chance to host someone in my room and bring him into his space and show him what the life of a Westmont Augustinian is like. My guest was also very gracious, which only made me enjoy the experience more.” And for Cameron, he says that the experience is incredibly rewarding and for sure brings much pleasure and joy. Cameron says, “They get to spend the night, get some food, enjoy Westmont life as is and decompress from their long day, hopefully including getting a good night’s sleep, which is always a lot of fun.” 

This experience is always a good one, but as with everything good in this world, there’s always some more memorable aspects of it, as well as sometimes some not-so-memorable aspects. For Nicolas, he says, “I hold hospitality very highly in my estimation, so to get a chance to practice what I preach was awesome. But on the other hand, it was definitely a pretty large time commitment.” Cameron says that for his favorite part, he liked being able to use being a host as an excuse to go out and get food and hang out on state street with people. “Plus, getting to know someone new is super fun.” Cameron says. But on the flip side, his least favorite aspect of the experience was the communications aspect. “Sometimes, it’s challenging to pick up the Augie and get them to the place they need to be in the morning. Oftentimes those logistics are not fully communicated which can get a bit annoying.” He says. No operation could be expected to go perfectly, that’s for sure, but Westmont students still find their ways to make things work even when the situation gets a bit sticky.

The community of Westmont is always a place where newcomers will get a warm welcome no matter who they are or where they’re from. For the Augustinian prospective students, their brief glimpse into the life of a Westmont student is barely a fraction of what they would feel should they choose to attend here, and surely neither the hosts or guests have any doubt in that statement!

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