Hoya Saxa sign on Healy Lawn
Category: Student Experience

Title: ‘It’s Going to be an Exciting Place to Be for the Next 4 Years’: Hoya Saxa Weekend Welcomes Admitted Students

As Aaron Pollock was driving back home to Holmdel, New Jersey, with his family, he’d never felt more sure about a decision in his life.

“We probably said that this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made like 70 different times in 70 different ways because I just felt so confident and so happy that I chose to come to Georgetown,” he said.

Pollock was just returning from Georgetown’s Hoya Saxa Weekend (HSW) in March. Hosted by the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access (CMEA) in partnership with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. HSW invites high school students who have been admitted and may have less exposure to college to get a taste of campus life on the Hilltop, meet current students, and learn more about Georgetown before making their college decisions. In addition, CMEA offers a select amount of need-based scholarships to assist students who have financial barriers in traveling to Georgetown.

This week, Georgetown will be hosting the second HSW of the year welcoming nearly 100 admitted students to campus.

A high school student stands on a balcony overlooking a city at night.
Aaron Pollock is a high school senior from New Jersey who plans to attend Georgetown in the fall.

Getting Into Georgetown

An aspiring lawyer, Pollock has dreamed of attending Georgetown and becoming a double Hoya. He said he’s drawn to Georgetown’s approach to religious education and fell in love with the campus when he visited in 2022.  

After he met an admissions officer over the summer, he knew he wanted to put all of his money on heading to the Hilltop. His mom also nudged him to become a Hoya.

“She said, ‘Aaron, you can come to DC every summer of college to do these internships, work on Capitol Hill, all of that stuff. Or, you could just go to Georgetown.’ It felt like a waste of time to go to almost any other place,” Pollock said.

“We highlight experiences to introduce students to Georgetown as a community in diversity,” said Charlene Brown-Mckenzie, director of CMEA. “Through programs and events throughout the weekend, students can make their college decision through an inclusive lens.”

Hoya Saxa Weekend

A senior at Georgetown stands in front of a green door of a house near Georgetown's campus.
Anndy Serrano-Marcillo (C’24) is a senior who’s the student advising lead of Hoya Saxa Weekend, which he himself attended as an admitted student.

HSW is the reason Anndy Serrano-Marcillo (C’24) is at Georgetown. Meeting other Latino, underserved and first-generation college students made him feel like he wouldn’t be an outsider at Georgetown. 

“I think with Georgetown, what made it such a big highlight for me in general was seeing myself on campus,” Serrano-Marcillo said. “I think with other schools … I didn’t see myself on campus. I didn’t have a community to stand by me.”

Knowing how much a weekend on campus did for him, Serrano-Marcillo wanted others to experience the magic of HSW. Since then, he’s been an indispensable part of HSW, serving as co-chair last year and as the student advising lead this year with intimate knowledge of every element that goes into the weekend.

Students arrive on Thursday for a jam-packed weekend of activities. For those selected for student-based housing, they get to meet their hosts, current Georgetown students who welcome the high schoolers into their residence halls for the weekend. For many HSW participants, hosts often become mentors as students start college in the fall, Serrano-Marcillo said. 

Students walk past a stone building on Georgetown's campus on a spring day.
Hoya Saxa Weekend participants tour the Hilltop, which, for some, is the first time they are on campus or in DC.

On the first day, students tour campus, visit residence halls, attend financial aid sessions, and sit in on a college class. HSW also hosts a current student panel where admitted students can ask about life as a Hoya. The evening concludes with a welcome dinner as well as Taste of Georgetown, a HSW tradition where admitted students go around the Georgetown neighborhood and explore the different food options nearby campus. 

Sitting in on the class Black Capitalism with Professor Rosemary Ndubuizu was a highlight of the day for Pollock.

“It was just the best class ever because I’ve never been in a classroom that was so engaged,” said Pollock, who is considering a major in government, political economy or public policy. “I felt like all of the other admitted students felt that too. It was a hit among us.”

On Friday, students attend a panel featuring faculty members discussing diversity in the classroom and how professors at Georgetown cater to the individual needs of their students. In the evening, students join a multicultural reception, featuring student organizations and Georgetown offices that focus on serving students of a wide variety of backgrounds.

On Saturday, admitted students end their HSW with a closing lunch. 

A group of students sit in front of a classroom on a panel while other classmates sit in desks watching them.
Participants listen to student panelists as part of Hoya Saxa Weekend.

During his HSW weekend, Pollock was asked to speak to his fellow admitted students on his decision to commit to Georgetown. Led by HSW and CMEA staff, students then head into downtown Washington, DC, to explore the National Mall, national monuments and the Smithsonian museums before heading back to the HIlltop for a final closing dinner.

Throughout the weekend, students also spend time participating in GAAP Weekend activities with other admitted students, allowing them to meet other peers and not miss out on any admitted student programming.  

Serrano-Marcillo hopes that through HSW, admitted students can learn about all the resources and support Georgetown offers to its students, including diverse and underrepresented communities.

“Our main job is not to convince students to come to Georgetown. Our main job is to provide students with the opportunity to explore Georgetown in terms of being in different communities,” Serrano-Marcillo said. “It’s a way for students to explore Georgetown knowing the different resources and types of help they can have at Georgetown.”

A group of faculty panelists sit behind a desk and talk to students.
Faculty members met with students, including (from left to right) Brienne Adams, an assistant professor in the Department of Black Studies; Amanda Phillips, as associate professor in the Department of English; Angelo Rivero Santos, an associate teaching professor and director of academic affairs in the Center for Latin American Studies; and Heidi Elmendorf, an associate professor and director of the Education, Inquiry & Justice Program.

Making Connections and Feeling Welcomed

Now as a senior, Serrano-Marcillo said he met some of his best friends at Georgetown at HSW when he was an admitted student. Pollock said he has also met new friends he’s kept in touch with since meeting them last month.

As a Trinidadian-American living in a small community in New Jersey, Pollock said he doesn’t see much diversity in his high school classrooms. But after spending a weekend at Georgetown, he’s excited to enter into a diverse community while also feeling like he can be his whole self at Georgetown.

During one HSW panel with faculty, Pollock described how one professor reassured him of how Georgetown empowers students to bring their whole selves to the community.

“I love being Trinidadian-American, but there’s so much more to me than just that. And while I do want to bring some of my culture with me to Georgetown, I don’t want to always feel like I’m carrying that burden [of representing Trinidadians,]” he said. “[The professor] said … it’s perfectly fine to take pieces of yourself and bring them into every place. It’s perfectly okay to segment the parts of yourself to what needs to be seen in the current moment and to not always carry that with you.”

As he approaches his high school graduation, Pollock is eager to start diving into his academic interests and making new connections with other Hoyas this fall. He said he’s grateful to have had the opportunity to get a preview of all that’s to come.

“When you’re doing Hoya Saxa Weekend, you get extra time to just be on campus and absorb those traditions and see it be alive,” he said. “You just feel like it’s going to be a really exciting place to be for the next four years.”

When Pollock gave his speech at the closing luncheon, he called for his fellow admitted students to join him in the Class of 2028, knowing he’d be sad if he wouldn’t get to see them on their first day of school this fall semester.

“If you were excited by being in a stimulating classroom [this weekend], that has to be what all the classes here are like. If you found value in all the people you’ve met and if you want to continue doing that, you should come to Georgetown next year. If you’re somebody who’s passionate about taking a historically elite university like Georgetown and using that power and privilege to make a difference … take the chance. Come [to Georgetown.]”