Campus welcomes new Student Life Building
Story and photos by Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau
To continue to create a campus culture that is strong, encouraging and supportive for the student experience — that’s the focus of the newly added student offices on the first floor of the Student Life Building, said Dr. Tim Griffin, Grand Canyon University‘s pastor and dean of students.
Since August, student leaders in the new four-story building at the intersection of the Promenade and Lopes Way have been working to improve and expand campus life. The students, in collaboration with GCU staff, provide services that focus on student engagement, spiritual life and student government. Griffin, whose office is on the second floor along with Residence Life, Counseling and the newly created Housing department, enjoys the sight of students from his window right above the east entrance.
“The students are the ones who develop and carry the culture around campus, and this building allows them to carry on their activities,” said Griffin.
Julia Bates, student activities coordinator, describes the everyday activity as an “incredible volume of students who have taken ownership of the building’s grounds.”
“We really encourage our students to be creative when thinking about ways to engage their fellow peers on campus and create community,” said Meghan Mellinger, student activities manager at GCU. “Within those office spaces our students are coming together, engaging in team meetings, planning events and executing those ideas. We’re blessed to be able to give them their own working spaces because we’ve also noticed how greatly it’s enabled them to put on social events, and some build incredible relationships.”
With the modernized office spaces, students on campus can direct their questions or needs to the Canyon Activities Board, the Associated Students of GCU, and Local and Global Outreach.
Inside the office of the Canyon Activities Board, students have designed their space with white boards, calendars, filing cabinets, posters, a meeting room and a lounge area. They even have a home for their four fish — Cabbie, Cabbette, Cabbriella and Cabbitto — and boxes filled with candy and snacks.
“It does get busy in here,” said Melanie Schissel, a student leader in CAB, while giving GCU Today a tour. “Our goal is to have a place to work and focus, but our door is always opened for other students who want to get involved. So to have a central location on campus is ideal.”
ASGCU has an office next to CAB. As part of the effort to enhance campus-wide support, the club represents the traditional student voice on campus.
“We are here to be a resource to students, and we all have a common goal — to answer questions, help students with difficult problems or just simply to be here for the chance to meet them,” said Alysha Clark, Associated Students chief of staff. “We definitely use our space for working and getting tasks done, but I think the purpose of having this space is so much greater than that. We invest in the paperwork, reports and frequent meetings ultimately to love on other students in ways that other people don’t get to. We are here to be efficient but also to help one another get closer to God.”
Members of the student-led Local and Global Outreach team are using their new office space to serve the local community and raise awareness about worldwide issues. They, too, have designed their hub with computers, photographs, artwork, couches and white boards.
“Primarily our lounge is a space for students to come in and get more information, but this is also a hangout-meeting space for a lot of what we do,” senior Stephanie Hall said. “For Global Outreach, this has been a great place for ministry meetings, but people also now know that this hub exists and it’s a place that they can feel comfortable coming in to share their ideas.”
Senior Josh Alvarez found that it’s also a great place to do homework and have meaningful conversations.
“I’m glad I have this place,” he said, pausing from his homework project and a conversation with a friend about beatboxing.
The new location expands the student experience by directing students to the clubs on campus, creating opportunities and friendships, Hall said. That’s a great feeling.
“This is giving us an opportunity to grow into our leadership roles and prepare to support students in ways that students and staff would expect us to — that is a huge blessing,” she said.
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.