Learning Lounge expands to new apartments
Story by Jeannette Cruz
Photos by Darryl Webb
GCU News Bureau
After three years of providing Grand Canyon University and inner-city community students with a space to strive to improve their academic performance, GCU’s Learning Lounge has expanded its presence on campus at the three new apartment buildings — Roadrunner, Encanto and Agave.
The goal is to help GCU students get the most out of their educational experience while providing emotional support, said Trish Anderson, program manager of student development and outreach.
The Learning Lounge, located north of the main entrance in Building 16, has provided free academic assistance to students of all grade levels since its partnership with nearby Alhambra High School in 2012. The first generation of residence hall lounges began at The Grove last fall and expanded because more space was needed to provide students with learning advocates (LEADs), Anderson said.
While most students who arrive at the Learning Lounge have an average GPA of 3.5, it is available to any students who seek to get ahead in their courses and find themselves facing any challenges. The key this year is that the residence hall lounges will be accessible to all students on campus, not just apartment residents.
The Learning Lounge serves 14,000 students on the ground campus and also provides services to 60,000 students online. When students arrive at the apartment lounges they will find what looks like a homey everyday atmosphere — a seating area with tables, chairs, lamps, whiteboards and lots of smiles — as students sit side by side with their peers and mentors.
“There really is so much heart here, from professors to students and staff,” Anderson said. “What happens when a student walks in is that LEADs deconstruct lessons and presentation slides that professors have shared to help a LEAD know what students need to focus on each week.”
After Dark Series Schedule
Roadrunner, Monday-Thursday, 8 p.m.- midnight
Ironwood, Wednesday, 8-10 p.m.
CHSS 2, Monday-Thursday, 8 p.m.- midnight
Agave, Monday, 8 p.m.-midnight
Ironwood, Tuesday, 8-10 p.m.
Encanto, Monday-Thursday, 8 p.m.-midnight
“It’s all about having a collaborative effort with all the faculty and colleges on campus. We are here to serve and support our faculty — we know that they are only one person and they might have hundreds of students, so we’re here to fill in that gap and give students the necessary extra boost.”
This semester, an After Dark Series also will offer help in science, math and Microsoft Excel in the evenings.
Senior Abriel Cleaver quickly found the help she needed at the Lounge after transferring from Hawaii 18 months ago. That experience inspired her to make an impact on other students four months ago by working as a lead.
“I chose to become a lead because I literally live in the Lounge,” she said. “I remember coming here four to five days a week and spending two to three hours every single night, and I think it was because of how friendly and how welcoming everyone was. I got to see how people really do go above and beyond to help others succeed. At the Learning Lounge, LEADs are not just concerned about a student’s work, they’re also concerned about their well-being.”
Cleaver will be hosting Writing After Dark, a program that focuses on APA formatting, outlines and the writing process while also teaching doctoral writing.
Anderson said it’s rewarding to know that students such as Cleaver can find a home on campus within their peers and staff.
“But most important, with these new apartment lounges, you watch that flow throughout the campus,” she said. “We’re ready for one-on-one, group sessions — whatever the learner needs.”
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.