When Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. learned earlier this year that a fellow Christian school, Virginia University of Lynchburg, was experiencing an influx of students for the spring semester and had nowhere to house them, it reminded him of Liberty’s early history. He then received a message from Craig Storrs, a Liberty student living at the Liberty University Residential Annex (formerly the Lynchburg Inn). Storrs suggested that Liberty offer VUL rooms at the Annex. The Chancellor thought it was a great idea and contacted Liberty’s housing staff to check on the possibility of any open rooms.
On Tuesday, Liberty hosted a welcome party for 28 VUL students who will be living alongside Liberty students this semester at the Annex. The party provided a venue for students from both schools to get to know each other and celebrate with dinner, games, raffles, and musical performances.
“I was here in the days when Liberty struggled to find housing for our students and we went all over the city trying to find places … and so this was a really wonderful opportunity for us to extend to VUL, who is in the same struggle, a solution to their problem, and I’m looking forward to our students and their students getting to know each other,” said Liberty’s vice president for student affairs Dr. Mark Hine.
Betty Saunders, director of the Office of Student Housing at Liberty, said her office, along with the Center for Multicultural Enrichment (Center4ME), Student Care and Conduct offices, LUPD and Office of Student Leadership have all partnered “to ensure this short stay for the VUL students is memorable and a positive experience.”
VUL was founded in 1886 and aims to provide a liberal arts education in a Christian environment, while embracing the school’s African American heritage. VUL has several teaching locations throughout Virginia, but its main campus is located on Garfield Avenue in Lynchburg
|A member of Liberty's Student Leadership team greets a VUL student.|
Dr. Terrie Griffin, vice president of student affairs at VUL, said she is grateful for Liberty’s help.
“Any time we get an opportunity to bring Christian universities together in partnership is just an awesome opportunity, and so we want to express our gratitude to Jerry Falwell, Jr. for extending to VUL this opportunity to share in housing.”
Students from both schools are looking forward to living together at the Annex this semester.
“I think it’s a good thing because it provides the opportunity to be able to interact more with the Liberty students. Both schools offer great programs, but we both could benefit from each other … I think it’s really going to be a good thing between the schools and I’m excited to see what great things are going to happen,” said sophomore VUL student Bruce Mitchell.
Liberty graduate student Aaron Hedden attended the welcome party.
“The invitation had the verse Psalm 133:1, ‘How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity,’ and so this event I think is here to promote unity, to create an environment where people can get to know each other and have fun, and I think it’s important to kick it off that way,” he said.
The Liberty University Residential Annex, located on Odd Fellows Road, was formerly the Lynchburg Inn and Conference Center. Liberty acquired the building in 2008. In addition to student housing, it also serves as an educational center for Liberty University Online.