Giuliana Figliomeni

My Letter Jacket Journey

Nov. 17, 2015

By Giuliana Figliomeni (’15, manager)

Like many of us, Notre Dame athletics has always been an integral part of my life. Whether it be visiting campus and attending games, or cheering on the Irish from the comfort of my home, the moment the game began I became lost in something bigger than myself. The deep tradition, the caliber, the sense of community, all of these were aspects that drew me in and had me hooked.

When I transferred to Notre Dame as a sophomore, I knew that I needed to find some way to have a role in athletics at this University. So, when I was offered the position of student manager for the women’s basketball program I immediately accepted, not knowing at the time that that experience would provide me with some of my best college memories. Whether you are a student-athlete or a part of the student support staff (manager, video technician, athletic trainer) your time with college athletics is going to kick your butt, I promise you. Countless grueling practices, high-stress situations, and many sleepless nights of homework and studying is not exactly a dream come true. However, we all do it for the love of the sport, for the thrill that comes with competition, for the joy of being alongside teammates and friends who become like family.

When my time as a student manager unfortunately came to a close and graduation loomed just around the corner, I couldn’t shake the sadness at the thought of leaving behind so many of the strong relationships I had built at Notre Dame. That’s when I received my letter from the Notre Dame Monogram Club informing me that I was to be inducted as a new club member that fall. In that moment, I was ecstatic knowing that I would forever have another link to this University and the athletic department that I loved (and also because I knew that I would be receiving a pretty sweet jacket!). Little did I know that a handful of months later, I would become connected with the Monogram Club in more ways than one.

I joined the Monogram Club staff one month ago, filling their intern position, and right away one of my first projects was assisting with the organization of my own letter jacket ceremony. Before becoming the Monogram Club Intern I never would have guessed how much forethought and planning goes into such a ceremony, nor would I have understood how important this event is, not only to the inductees, but also to the Club staff and the athletics department. It’s not just about juggling caterers and florists to make sure the evening looks great and runs smoothly, it’s about getting to know each and every student joining the ranks. All new members are chosen because they’ve done some truly amazing things and, as a Club, we want to know about it and celebrate it!

By the time the ceremony rolled around, after spending hours gathering 200+ RSVPs, checking and double checking event preparations, and having the words Fall Letter Jacket Ceremony pretty much stamped on the back of my eyelids, I was ready to step back from my staff role for a few hours to enjoy the moment as an inductee.

Surrounded by my family and friends, I listened as Father Jenkins, Jack Swarbrick, and former student-athlete Matt Carroll spoke about how important and special the Monogram Club is, how important and special we, as members, are to the University. I walked across the stage and looked out into the crowd of my peers realizing that I am now officially a part of another type of Notre Dame community, one whose entire existence is focused on making sure students and alumni, such as myself, become the best versions of ourselves we can be, all while maintaining our relationship with the University that we love.

I’m so very proud and excited to be considered a part of the Monogram Club family, both as a member and as staff, and I look forward to supporting the growth of future student-athletes to come, in any way that I can.

See more from the fall letter jacket ceremony.