‘Tis The Season To Be A Sophomore

‘Tis The Season To Be A Sophomore

by Brittany Benninger | Row New York Alumna | University of Notre Dame ‘19

Brittany Benninger is a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame and rowed with Row New York on the Manhattan girls’ team, graduating in 2015. Find out how she has been spending her time in college – from clubs, courses, and even construction work!

I am three weeks into my sophomore year and am loving it so far. It’s nice to come back to campus and already have an established life. I’m happy to not be spending the first month lost!

My summer was awesome: I worked in construction in Eastern Kentucky! I worked and lived at Hand in Hand Ministries in Auxier, KY through a summer service program Notre Dame offers. I assisted the home repair program and worked alongside volunteers and site leaders. I got to know the homeowners very well since we worked with them for the two months I was there, and those relationships became very meaningful to me. I got a stipend, class credit, and an amazing experience. It was an all-around win!

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Brittany in Kentucky in front of Hand in Hand Ministries, where she did service work over the summer.

I knew that once I quit crew here I would fill up my days with other things I’m passionate about, and that has for sure happened. I am taking 18 credits this semester: Intermediate Microeconomic Theory, Statistics for Economics, Advanced Writing and Grammar (Spanish), Intro to Philosophy, a seminar titled Sustainable Wisdom (I love it! it’s taught by a super hippie professor and brings together a lot of voices that aren’t often heard on campus), and a class on sustainability that brings together the three college campuses right next to each other (University of Notre Dame, Holy Cross College, and Saint Mary’s College). I am majoring in Economics and minoring in Sustainability, and have plenty of room for fun electives and general education requirements as well.

Other than my classes, I am a TA for a Principles of Macroeconomics course, am leading an immersion/service trip to the New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia over fall break, and am the Student Body representative for my dorm. Through Student Government, I’m chairing a committee for sustainability reform on campus which I’m very excited about!

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Touchdown push-ups – a Notre Dame tradition (your friends lift you up into the air when ND scores)!

I am also involved in GreeND (the only environment club on campus) and Fossil Free ND, a campaign to get Notre Dame to divest from fossil fuels. As well, I’m a campus ambassador for the Peace Corps, so it’s safe to say I have a lot of things going on! I really love every day and enjoy every meeting and brainstorming session (even if I’m bouncing from one to the next). I am confident my decision last year and am grateful I now have the time to pursue all these endeavors.

I’m happy to report that I was on the Dean’s List for both semesters of my freshman year. I don’t doubt that this semester will be more challenging than the prior ones, but I look forward to more of a challenge. I always enjoy hearing about RNY and text/Snapchat my teammates just about every day. I am so grateful for the experiences I had and the person I became through Row New York!