Aug 28, 2007

LU enjoys new dorms, renovated facilities

by Alyson Bruner, News Reporter

Already the largest evangelical school in the country, Liberty keeps on growing. Not only is change evident in the increasing student body, but an enormous amount of change has happened both internally and externally throughout the campus.         

Throughout the changes, Liberty has kept its core focus of keeping a unified campus atmosphere as its main objective by making drastic changes in the dining, dorm and dean departments.


Every campus typically has a cafeteria that makes “bland” sound appealing. Liberty, however, made a strong breakthrough this summer. The newly renovated Reber Thomas Dining Hall has students thinking differently about their food choices.       

Roxy Maddah, a senior communications student at Liberty, said, “The dining hall renovations make it look like day and night from last year.”


Many students can see the obvious changes in the dining hall renovations from just one visit. Renovations feature track lighting, booths, benches, new flooring and even a new atrium that will add 100 extra spaces for seating. Not only is the new LU dining hall brand-new in appearance, but it also has a unique creative style that was done with the help of a contestant featured in a show on the Home Design Cable Network.


Most importantly, the goal of the LU Dining project was to create a campus bond. According to Ray Riddle, director of operations for LU Dining, “(Liberty) wants to give students a restaurant feel that is remembered as LU Dining, rather than Reber Thomas Dining Hall.”


Seeking to implement a unified campus brand, the waffle makers feature an LU vintage logo and LU Dining is sponsoring a Mustang giveaway. Interested students can register through April to win the Mustang at various events held on campus. Other promotions being run by LU Dining include a contest to rename the North campus café (students can apply online at libertydining@liberty.edu). Liz VanWingerden, the marketing manager of LU Dining, said they are looking forward to seeing the promotions play out and also to starting new ones in the future.


Externally, the Liberty campus is growing as well. A total of six dorms were built this summer and more are in the works. Three new women’s dorms and three men’s dorms were built on Campus East, totaling 504 beds in all. 

Adam Szturma, project manager of new construction, said that “the dorm construction was finished in six months and five days, making record construction time.”


New additions to Campus North include: a Sub Connection sandwich shop, a Jazzman’s coffee shop, a sushi bar, a Chick-fil-A and a new campus café. Students wanting to create a name for the new Campus North café could win Chick-fil-A meals for a year if their suggestion is chosen (students can register online at www.liberty.edu).


Coming in the very near future is a new and creative restaurant appropriately named “Doc’s Diner” in remembrance of the university’s founder, Dr. Jerry Falwell.  


Also new as of July is the establishment of the Office of Student Conduct and Student Care, which acts in place of the offices of the Dean of Men and the Dean of Women. Mr. Keith Anderson, director of Student Conduct and Student Care, sees it as “nothing less than ministry through discipline.” He wants the offices to meet the cares of every student no matter his or her background.


Any student receiving 18 reprimands or more will need to report to the Student Conduct office this year as opposed to the Dean’s office as in years past. Any student accumulating less then eighteen reprimands will report to their Resident Director (RD), which empowers RDs to now be more involved with campus discipline and discipleship.


When receiving reprimands, a student has the option of presenting their case to a student court of appeals, which is then judged by court justices who are  members of the Student Government Association (SGA). Those interested in becoming a court justice should first join SGA as a representative.


Many students are not aware of the different changes occurring all over campus. Sarah Lewis, a senior at Liberty, said, “I did not even know that there was no longer a Dean of Men and a Dean of Women, but the change sounds like a good idea to build a stronger campus.”


This is the concept that Anderson mentioned when he said the goal is to “create a closer bond throughout the campus.”

Contact Alyson Bruner at ambruner@liberty.edu.


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