Thursday, April 17, 2014

Liberty culture continues to grow in diversity

Outside the class — Students at Liberty University have the opportunity to take part in concerts, road trips and other activities via the Student Activities department. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

Rich (adjective): having high quality; magnificently impressive. The Merriam-Webster website must have had student life at Liberty University in mind when defining this term.

Snowflex, open mic nights, horseback riding, concerts, movie nights, ice skating and club sports, such as archery and racquetball, are just a few of the many activities offered to Liberty students looking to have a good time outside of the classroom.

Dean of Students Keith Anderson said that all of the recreational options at Liberty are above par because they aid in the development of every student in mind, body and spirit.

He also credited Liberty’s state of the art facilities with setting the college apart from the competition.

“Liberty University is tied to the commitment of our chancellor and founder who more than once proclaimed, ‘If it’s Christian, it ought to be better,’” Anderson said.

Piped up — Liberty state-of-the-art, year-round ski slope, Snowflex, allows students the opportunity to experience multi-level skiing. snowboarding or tubing. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

He also added that Liberty’s current “available capital to fund recreation” has given the university the freedom to offer more events today than when the university first opened.

Although Promotions Manager for Student Activities Stephanie Ward believes that Liberty has always excelled in the area of student life, she said that doing background research on what other colleges are currently offering and listening to student feedback gathered from surveys and social media posts have helped the university better itself over the last 40 years.

“We don’t create events randomly or just for the sake of having them. We are dedicated to providing what students want and ask for,” Ward said. “We want to fit the style and needs of people today. This allows us to have a variety of events with an actual purpose behind them.”

Once student suggestions are taken into account, Student Activities works to make certain each event idea that’s generated accomplishes two main goals: create community within the student body and culturally challenge students.

“We want to establish communication through shared experiences,” Ward said. “We strive to give students a home away from home, to cater to them and provide diversity. And everything is right at their fingertips at a low cost.”

The Student Activities’ staff, Ward said, engages in multiple weekly meetings, physical labor, the renting of equipment and filling out numerous work orders, among other responsibilities, to ensure that every event and activity presented to Liberty students goes off without a hitch.

Anderson said that countless hours of research and the analysis of available data also play a big role in making sure that “students are indeed benefitting from the activities taking place on our campus.”

Senior Gregory Smith, who transferred to Liberty in 2010, said that he has definitely benefitted from the school’s clear dedication to student life.

“Student life at Liberty engages students with different events outside of class more than the last college I was at, and most importantly, Liberty strives to keep Christ as the head of the student body in all things,” Smith said.

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