GCU INsider: More places than ever to gather

Reprinted from the August issue of GCU Magazine. To read the digital version of the magazine, click here.

Construction crews lay foam sub-flooring in the area that used to feature the bowling alleys during the renovation of Thunderground in early July. (Photo by Ralph Freso)

Does the campus have any new places to hang out indoors?

Thunderground’s summer transformation to a roomier hangout space — without the bowling alley — is complete. It will allow more room for the growing popularity of student events, shows and concerts. Movie nights will be more impressive with enough space to feel like a theatre, and dances and socials will have room to breathe.

INsider tip: Thunderground supervisor Danny Williamson III said that when the space isn’t used for events, there still will be popular games such as pool, ping-pong, mini golf and virtual reality, and “we even have a few new options in store that we hope students will love playing as much as we’ve loved testing them.”

Construction began in July on the new gathering place at the southern end of Prescott Field. (Photo by Ralph Freso)

What about outdoor hangout spots?

There are big additions to two gathering spaces near the main entrance. On the Quad, which became even more popular last year with seating areas on a multitiered platform, The Quad Kitchen will serve barbecue, burgers, tacos and more, adding to the excitement of a space that also features a new sound system and bigger video board. Prescott Field, just north of the Lope Shop, is being transformed into a new hangout space with shade trees and a paved patio. The lacrosse teams, which previously used Prescott Field, are moving to Juniper Field.

INsider tip: “There’s still room to frolic and run about – even have an impromptu flag football practice in the open spaces.” James Kossler, Vice President of Facilities, Planning and Operations

Students are advised to not bring too much items to campus -- they probably won't need a lot of them. (Photo by Ralph Freso)

Got any Welcome Week tips for new students?

Don’t miss the night events – they’re a great way to get familiar with the campus and make friends. Pack light – you’ll probably need less than you think. Check out daily pop-ups on the Promenade. Tune in to Welcome Week Radio at 100.7 FM for music, announcements and event info. And follow @gcuwelcome for daily giveaways.

INsider tip: “Whether it’s your first or last year on campus, there’s always something new to explore at GCU.” Garrett Abeyta, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Department of Welcome Programs

Will Welcome Week feature any interesting new events?

First Monday, GCU’s version of a farmers’ market, will include student vendors selling items from their businesses. It’s scheduled for 9-11 p.m. Aug. 29 on the Quad. Also of note: Faith in Your First Year, an optional session for students and their parents.

INsider tip: “Be sure to follow us on Instagram (@cabgcu) and stop by the marketing table to win free prizes and food.” Anthony Anaya, Canyon Activities Board’s student activities coordinator

GCU senior Lauren Hanson bites into one of Canyon Pizza Co.'s new pizza recipes during the Tasting Party in June.

What’s new on the campus food menu besides The Quad Kitchen?

Canyon Pizza Co. in the Student Union is touting new dough, sauce and toppings in its pie, which earned a thumbs-up when employees tried it this summer. Two big additions are on the horizon for later this fall: A new sit-down restaurant, Havoc House, is expected to open in GCU Arena in time for basketball season, and the new Turquoise Apartments at 29th Avenue and Colter Street will have Purple Greens & More, which will offer ramen and pho plus an expanded salad and rice bowl menu.

INsider tip: “I think having a nice place to sit and meet with people on this end of campus during lunch hour will allow me to take advantage of networking opportunities that I otherwise would have passed over because of how long it takes to get to and from campus.” Eric Johnson, GCU Recording Studio Manager, on having Havoc House a short walk from his office

Which Ethington Theatre play figures to attract the most attention?

It has to be “SpongeBob SquarePants,” scheduled for Nov. 11-13 and 18-20. But it’s just one of four interesting Ethington Theatre offerings. The undersea world of SpongeBob comes on the heels of “Hamlet,” one of the greatest dramas of all time, and it’s sandwiched before “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” an existential comedy that thrusts a couple of minor characters from Hamlet into the spotlight. The second musical, “Big Fish,” is an epic, heartfelt odyssey of a son who discovers the man his father truly is.

INsider tip: “This brand new musical about everyone’s favorite sponge was a no-brainer for us. With music by David Bowie, Panic at the Disco, John Legend and Steven Tyler (to name just a few), we’re going to rock the house.” Michael Kary, “SpongeBob” director

Chris Brown, an extremely dynamic speaker, is scheduled to be at Chapel on Sept. 26 (Photo by Ralph Freso)

What’s planned in spiritual life for the fall semester?

Don’t miss the opening Chapel talk by GCU President Brian Mueller on Sept. 12 – get there early, because it will be packed. Another dynamic orator is Chris Brown of North Coast Church in Vista, California, who will be in the Arena on Sept. 26. Among the three first-time Chapel speakers is CityServe cofounder Wendell Vinson on Oct. 17. The Gathering, a Tuesday night worship service in Antelope Gymnasium, will focus on the Book of Exodus this fall. Sanctuary, a more reflective time of prayer, will be on Thursday nights in Sunset Auditorium.

INsider tip: “Join us at the Prayer Chapel for two life-changing programs being offered this fall: ALPHA, a space for conversations about life, faith and meaning at 7 p.m. Wednesdays, and spiritual formation workshops/ communities at 2:30 p.m. Mondays to learn practical tools to grow in your faith.” Erik Nelsen, Director of Spiritual Life

Kelsie Doan leads a spiritual formation workshop in February in the Prayer Chapel.

Are there are any other faith initiatives?

There’s a big one. The College of Theology faculty completed a Christian worldview publication that will be shared with GCU students and partner schools alike. It’s divided into two volumes – “Beginning of Wisdom: An Introduction to Christian Thought and Life” and “Walking in Wisdom: The Way of Life and Peace” – and seeks to answer foundational questions about the best ways to think and live. The goal is to meet students where they’re at.

INsider tip: “We’re doing Christian worldview and biblical introduction, but we’re also trying to talk to 21st-century students. We’re not trying to have a conversation with your mom and dad in the 1960s. We have to make it feel like it matters now, because it does.” Dr. Jason Hiles, Dean, College of Theology

Two of the returning men's soccer players are junior midfielder Edgar Soto (middle) and WAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and senior forward Shaun Joash (right).

What sport has reached the most NCAA team tournaments since GCU became postseason eligible in Division I in 2017-18?

Men’s soccer. The Lopes have reached three of the past four NCAA tournaments and cracked the top-25 national rankings on multiple occasions. After GCU players Esai Easley and Justin Rasmussen were Major League Soccer SuperDraft first-round picks this year, the Lopes look to sustain success under new coach Mike Kraus. The schedule pits GCU against eight fellow 2021 NCAA tournament teams, including Virginia Tech in an Aug. 25 season opener at GCU Stadium.

Joshua Braun, one of the most prolific -- and prayerful -- scorers in GCU history, is returning to campus to coach in Club Sports.

INsider tip: “We want to be talked about nationally and know that beating some of the best is the way to reach our ultimate goal.” – Kraus

Are there any new intramurals?

Just one, but it should be fun. Innertube water polo sounds like a much more enjoyable way to paddle around the pool – a lot less tiring than trying to stay afloat on your own for long periods of time. And here’s an interesting note from Club Sports: Former GCU basketball star Josh Braun will coach one of the hoops teams.

INsider tip: “We are always looking for new ways to engage our student population. We thought this could be something extremely fun and a reprieve from the heat that we experience the first few weeks of the fall semester.” Zach Erdmann, Intramural Sports Manager, on innertube water polo


Related content:

GCU News: Fun gathering spaces highlight campus changes


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GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

(Moses addressed Israel, reminding them of God's deliverance of them from Egypt, and His commands given to them:) "You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the Lord your God brought you out (from bondage and delivered you.). The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear." (Deuteronomy 7:19)

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