Big news streams through campus as year begins

Editor's note: Reprinted from the August 2021 issue of GCU Magazine. To view the digital version of the magazine, click here.

Mike Kilen, Ashlee Larrison, Lana Sweeten-Shults and Rick Vacek contributed to this report
GCU Magazine

Everyone’s talking about The Rivers. What’s the big deal?

It’s big, all right, and its atmosphere will be especially large. Students will have three apartment complexes with central plaza areas that are indoor-outdoor flex spaces with a fitness facility, an arcade style space, a coffee shop and dining options (see next entry). Salt River, Aqua Fria and Verde River are flanked by a massive, 2,800-vehicle parking garage. A little distance learning: Lopes Way is 9 minutes, 4 seconds away on foot – but a lot less on a Lux Longboard.

INsider tip: “A pool will be coming online at The Rivers after school starts this fall. And for students who graduate early and/or want to complete their graduate degree, there is housing set aside specifically for them in Verde River Apartments.” – Matt Hopkins, Director of Residence Life

Are there any new places to eat in The Rivers or on Lopes Way?

Three great additions are coming to The Rivers: Panera Bread will open sometime this fall along with a new GCBC and Nekter Juice Bar, specializing in fresh pressed juices. The most exciting new Lopes Way location is the Kaminari poké bar in Camelback Hall, which replaces Auntie Anne’s and Canyon Crepe. Students have been requesting a poké bar for a while. Then there’s the newly renamed Lopes Training Table in the Student Union, formerly Harvest Kitchen. Save time by downloading the Transact Mobile Order app on the App Store or Google Play and selecting Grand Canyon University. And you can keep up with food news by connecting with @GCUDining on Instagram.

INsider tip: “We will be collaborating more with our campus dietitian, Liz Cook, to feature our Healthy Picks and other great ways to eat healthy on campus.” – GCU Dining/Sodexo Marketing Supervisor Jessica Maichel

Artist's rendering of what the Quad will look like when it's finished.

Will anything else look different on campus?

Yes, quite a bit. Artificial turf is being installed on three-quarters of the Quad, and the paved northernmost quarter will feature a stage and fire pit. The Cyber Center of Excellence is moving to the Technology Building. The classrooms were dramatically upgraded in the church complex at 31st Avenue and Camelback Road, which also includes the new Veterans Lounge. Grove Field has netting to allow full soccer and lacrosse fields. And the greatly expanded Inclusion Lounge, with a study area and space for the student leaders, will be in Kaibab.

Donald Glenn

INsider tip: “We are in the process of mapping out a campus running loop that will be marked every quarter mile. That way, you can stay on campus but still enjoy an outdoor jog. And we will have a lot of new fitness classes, including yoga, strength training, spin, yoga sculpt and high intensity.” – Matt Lamb, Director of Campus Recreation

Anything else happening in the Diversity and Inclusion Office besides the new lounge?

First, that’s a new name. The theme for the year is “Reimagining What Diversity Looks Like,” and the Inclusion Lounge will play a key role. It opened last year as a space where students can be open, honest and basically just talk. Now, with more space, it will be a place to create large projects for the campus and surrounding community.

INsider tip: “The idea of 'when we move' is going to be not just having conversations but beginning to do things. Let’s practice what we’ve been preaching.” – Donald Glenn, Director of Diversity and Inclusion

Chapel is a staple of campus life, and it will be rejoined by The Gathering this year.

What’s the Spiritual Life plan?

Two pieces of news: The Ignite ceremony, usually held during Welcome Week, will be on the evening of Sept. 7, the first day of classes. And The Gathering, which had to be canceled last year because of the pandemic, will return on Tuesday nights in Antelope Gymnasium, probably with two services each week to accommodate overflow. But new students should be aware that the biggest weekly event on campus is Chapel every Monday morning, beginning Sept. 13.

INsider tip: “So many freshmen I talked to last year said, ‘Everyone always talks about The Gathering, and hopefully I’ll get to experience that at some point.’ We’re excited, and we think we’ve put together a good lineup.” – Jared Ulrich, Worship Manager, Office of Spiritual Life

Will plays and concerts be inside Ethington Theatre again?

Absolutely! Last year’s outdoor performances were well received and attracted thousands of viewers online, but the College of Fine Arts and Production cannot wait to welcome audiences back into Ethington. One of the most anticipated performances is “The Addams Family” in November, shortly after Halloween. The family-friendly musical will be the perfect show before the transition into Christmas cheer.

INsider tip: “The shows themselves aren’t connected, but the overarching idea of ‘welcome back’ was our main focus, along with what we could do to make people happy.” – Michael Kary, Acting Instructor

New men's soccer coach Leonard Griffin has high hopes for the Lopes.

After sports competed on a condensed schedule with attendance restrictions in 2020-21, what will 2021-22 look like for GCU Athletics?

As much as GCU teams are known for their achievements (the Lopes won 11 WAC championships in 2020-21), the home atmosphere is a huge part of the program’s identity. That returns in 2021-22 with full fan capacity at on-campus events. Each fall sports team has a quick turnaround after the previous season was delayed until the spring.

Esports is booming as a Club Sport. 

INsider tip: “I think the sky’s the limit for the program to do things on a national scale.” – New men’s soccer coach Leonard Griffin, who takes over a team coming off its second NCAA tournament visit in the past three seasons. The Lopes boast a strong returning nucleus after spending much of last spring in the national top 25.

What’s the outlook for Club Sports?

Despite the pandemic, Club Sports grew last year, adding water polo and artistic swimming. Esports, which features a pay-as-you-go option, also is booming. This year, the new sports include figure skating, gymnastics, ballroom dance and competitive cornhole. Students can sign up through the Active Works enrollment platform or at clubsports.gcu.edu.

INsider tip: “We are back to normal – full speed ahead. We are expecting record numbers of athletes and are always looking to expand.” – Dan Nichols, Director of Club Sports

Sand volleyball will be one of the many intramural sports offered this year.

How about intramurals?

All large team sports will be back. Flag football, indoor volleyball and cornhole (a popular addition during the pandemic) will be featured in the fall. Many other popular sports – such as outdoor soccer, 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 basketball, Ultimate Frisbee, sand volleyball and indoor soccer – will return during the year.

An employee volunteers at a Habitat project in 2019.

INsider tip: “If you do not have a team and are interested in playing, you can join the league as a free agent. Captains of teams needing players can add you to their team, or new teams of free agents can be created.” – Mike Fox, Intramural Sports Coordinator

Will Habitat for Humanity projects be available again?

After a pandemic year of suspending Habitat for Humanity projects (except for a socially distanced, mini Serve the City last spring), GCU students and employees are preparing to serve the neighborhood with a full slate of Habitat projects. The firs student project is scheduled for Sept. 25, and the first employee project is on Oct. 1.

INsider tip: “While we were sad not to have GCU staff and students out volunteering last year, we were given the green light to utilize the help of nearby churches and organizations. Many of those volunteers had a connection with GCU. Many folks stepped in to help because they want to replicate GCU’s model for neighborhood revitalization in their own neighborhoods.” – Andrea Northup, Sponsor Relations Manager, Habitat for Humanity, Central Arizona and a GCU grad

Calendar

Calendar of Events

M Mon

T Tue

W Wed

T Thu

F Fri

S Sat

S Sun

4 events,

3 events,

2 events,

3 events,

1 event,

3 events,

6 events,

Integrity Week

Integrity Week

4 events,

3 events,

7 events,

6 events,

5 events,

3 events,

5 events,

5 events,

4 events,

6 events,

5 events,

2 events,

4 events,

4 events,

6 events,

5 events,

5 events,

7 events,

3 events,

8 events,

5 events,

5 events,

3 events,

5 events,

9 events,

3 events,

Chapel

Chapel

GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

"Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation..."  (Luke 2:29-30)

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