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First year students on move-in day at Clark University

Welcome (back) to Clark


When was the last time you were on Clark’s campus? Do you miss being there?

Honestly, I don’t think that I would have answered “yes” if I had been asked a few months ago. It has been five years since my last daily walk past the Downing Street buildings, and I’ve found a comfortable peace in my own life to reduce the ache of nostalgia. Until this past August.

The Alumni and Friends Engagement team welcomed alumni volunteers back to campus to support families, students, and staff during the 2022 first-year Move In Day. I was one of the lucky few who already had the time off, so I gladly made my way back to the Woo through the gorgeous Kelley Square and Polar Park.

Actually being on campus again, it hit different. My first few steps past the Kneller welcomed me with the waving of flags. Newly planted trees from the 2010s were well past my shoulders, like younger cousins past their teenage growth spurt. The familiar curve of sun and sound between Wright and Goddard felt like the sense of comfort you feel from your highway exit after a long vacation. I was prepared for the sudden and immense feeling of belonging that Clark gave me, but after years of stress and loss of community, I felt lighter. I’m not a romantic at heart, but I couldn’t deny the sudden spiritual tonic that Clark somehow provided. It felt like home.

I’m happy that it will continue to be home for so many others. The class of 2026 is already making history as Clark’s largest first-year class ever. Students hail from 27 countries, 29% BIPOC, 19% first-generation, 6% international.

Sometimes, those numbers don’t quite resonate. Without a face, without a voice, they can seem abstract and distant. Seeing the students and families carrying bins full of snacks, clothes, video games, plants, a sewing machine… it was all familiar. During my time on campus, the Student Alumni Relations Committee (SARC) would pass out “Keep Clark Weird” stickers during Traditions Week, and I’m proud to say that these first-years are upholding that expectation in the best way possible.

I’m not entirely sure of the extent to which my visit back to Clark impacted me, but I cannot deny that it did.

May 2023 brings my ten-year reunion, and perhaps I’m just at that stage in life where nostalgia really digs its nails into you. What I can say is that if you have the opportunity to go back to campus, take it. Grab a latte at Acoustic Java and take a stroll past the cricket players in front of Atwood and the tightrope walkers on the green.

You’ll feel it, too: home.