As graduation is rapidly approaching, seniors Ireland Edwards, Danie Farris, Andrew Baffa, and Cassandra McGroarty reflect on the last four years.
For Edwards, one event stuck out among the rest during her four years, when the entire campus was put on lock down.
“I remember being in my dorm room in Catalina, hanging out with friends, when we started to notice a ton of noise and commotion. We looked out my window that overlooked the 55 freeway and saw tons of cars and crowds of people flocking to the fairgrounds where the riots were happening,” Edwards said.
The “Trump riots” of 2016–which occurred after a Trump campaign rally at the OC Fairgrounds–were a major event that affected Vanguard’s campus. Like Edwards, Baffa recalls them clearly.
“My friends and I climbed on top of Scott to see all of the action, and it was just a crazy atmosphere to be in,” Baffa said.
Farris was not on campus when the riots began, and she remembers waiting nearby at a coffee shop while Vanguard was on lockdown. According to Farris, she and her friends drove by the 55-freeway entrance and saw all the commotion as they were passing by.
“Men in bandanas covering their mouths, black clothes, and signs weren’t letting people into the highway. Definitely freaky hearing there were people with guns on campus, I was scared my fears would become reality for the people that I loved,” Farris said.
Besides the rumors and reality that encompassed the riots in fall of 2016, these students also saw positive changes on campus. These seniors were also able to see the Scott construction be completed and the change it would have on campus. Edwards notes that it was worth the wait and anticipation.
“Before the Scott renovation, students never hung out in that…area, there were no tables and chairs, or a space to have that kind of atmosphere…I really can’t imagine the campus without that welcoming and communal space now,”Edwards said.
The actual construction process, however, is not so fondly remembered. For McGroarty, it meant limited access to parts of campus she had previously used regularly.
“It was weird not having access, so I had to rely on other resources more. There was a lot of noise and craziness going on, but it was nice knowing that I would get to hang out there soon,” McGroarty said.
According to Edwards, the noise got so bad at times that interrupted classes.
“It seemed like a wall could cave in or a bulldozer would come crashing through at any moment,” she said.
Along with the campus wide events that have taken place in the last four years, students recall their personal experiences.
Farris, for example, chose to study abroad during the summer before her junior year in Kenya. She considers it one of the most significant events from her college experience, as she was exposed to a vastly different culture and people. In addition, she has fond memories of her experience on campus that same year.
“I also loved my time as an RA my junior year. I have been forever impacted by getting to welcome freshmen girls and create a community for them here at Vanguard,” Farris said.
The bonding experience offered by living in the Towers was just as great for Baffa, who lived there his freshman and sophomore years.
“The events that greatly impacted my time here were probably the two years in Huntington hall. I was blessed to be able to meet some quality guys that I still have friendships with,” Baffa said.
Edwards has enjoyed every part of her four years at Vanguard. From move in day freshmen year, to moving into her first apartment and purchasing her cap and gown.
“It has all shaped and impacted me in more ways than I can express. All I can say is I am immensely grateful for my four years at Vanguard, the great, not so great and everything in between, and I would do it all over again,” Edwards said.