The Rivers arrives: 'It's so fresh and new in here'

A unique community is being built in each of the apartment buildings at The Rivers.

Story by Ashlee Larrison
Photos by Ralph Freso
GCU News Bureau

As the sunrise began to break, the construction hustle and bustle that once flooded Grand Canyon University’s newest apartments was replaced with the sounds of moving trucks and chatter as The River’s first residents made their way into their new home.

After months of preparation, students have finally moved into The Rivers.

The mystique that has surrounded the apartments for the past several months resulted in returning students and their parents feeling mesmerized by both the sheer look and feel of Agua Fria, Salt River and Verde River. The excitement of getting to play a part in creating a unique culture within the apartment community drew in volunteers and students alike, each one expressing anticipation of getting to experience everything The Rivers has to offer.

“Everyone is super excited,” said Salt resident director and 2018 GCU graduate Brittany Diatte. “The building is new, so everyone’s saying, ‘It’s so fresh and new in here.’

“It’s cool because we get to create the culture over here and just be really excited to have everyone out here.”

Right outside of the Salt apartments, Bryce Peterson and his father, Josh, could be seen emptying the remainder of the sophomore sports management student’s belongings into a pushcart to bring up to his new apartment.

The younger Peterson had wanted to move into The Rivers to be near more parking options while also being close to the Canyon Activity Center and his classes in the Colangelo College of Business Building.

Ashley Finke (center) moved into her new apartment in Verde.

“It’s nice. I like the location,” he said. “Obviously, I’m excited for the construction to get finished, but I’ve enjoyed it so far.”

For Josh, getting a glance of where his son will be living was both comforting and exhilarating.

“I’m pretty excited for him,” he said. “It’s a brand new building, it looks amazing and it’s closer to where he wants to be. He’s looked forward to it since he signed up for it in the spring.”

That anticipation for Move-In was a common theme among students.

Junior business management student Ashley Finke specifically picked a Verde River apartment to feel the excitement of a new space. For her, the hype behind the new buildings did not disappoint.

“It seems super nice,” Finke said. “I already notice the improvements, like that there’s a little screen in the elevator.”

From the sleek design of the architecture to the apartment layout in the rooms, returning students had a lot to take in. Sophomore business entrepreneurship major Aubrey Wade, despite not having seen her bedroom portion of the apartment at the time, already knew she was going to be perfectly comfortable in her apartment.

“I really like the living area … and the bathroom is really nice, where I spend half my time always on my hair and makeup,” she said. “I really like them (the apartments). They’re really cute.”

Kenneth Norman excitedly moved into Agua Fria Monday morning.

With The Rivers sitting farther from the main part of campus, the apartments have the unique opportunity to establish their own community. That newfound level of independence was a real selling point for some residents.

It was an experience that junior Kenneth Norman, a student in the sports management program, and his friends just had to check out.

“Me and my roommates like the layout and everything that we saw,” he said. “It just kind of felt like a new vibe over here. I’m excited for everything.”

When asked about what they were most excited about, the answer won’t surprise anyone who has lived through the intensity of an Arizona summer.

“Probably the pool,” said pre-nursing sophomore Jensen Disbrow of a key feature being constructed at The Rivers. “I’ve heard it’s supposed to be pretty awesome. I’m looking forward to hanging out there.”

Once the pool is open, Disbrow suspects it will be a prime spot for students all over campus.

Jensen Disbrow was excited to get to experience all the new eateries and activities that The Rivers has to offer.

“Once the pool, GCBC and everything goes in, it will totally be like a hot spot for students to hang out and have some fun,” she said.

The students moving in weren’t the only ones in awe of the new apartments. Volunteers also found themselves enamored of the sights, sounds and community forming.

Junior IT student Winter Girlach, wearing a tie-dye yellow bucket hat, moved into Salt River last week and on Monday mingled with students and parents as she directed them to where they could park. Despite the early shift, Girlach’s charisma brought an extra level of positivity to the morning’s festivities.

“Everybody has been really great so far,” she said. “I’ve been trying to keep my energy up to kind of get them going, and they seem to be playing really well off that.

“I don’t know where my energy is coming from, but I hope to give them a little bit too much so they have the energy to move in because I can tell they’re excited to be here even if some of them have been here since the wee hours of the morning.”

For graphic design senior Logan Glennie and his brother Landon, a sophomore nursing student, the excitement of volunteering stems from getting to see students on campus again.

“I’m glad people are moving back onto campus,” Logan said. “Having people back on campus and living together in a community, there’s nothing like it.”

For the first time, the walls of The Rivers are full of life, laughter and, most importantly, Lopes.

If Move-In was any indication, it’s only going to get bigger and better from here.

Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].

***

Related content:

GCU Today: Welcome Week is here, and the Move-In is easy

GCU Today: Life leaders help students feel at home on campus

GCU Today: GCU welcomes largest incoming class in history

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Bible Verse

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” 
Romans 8:28