Date: November 17, 2010
By changing their programming, Andrews University’s residence halls are trying to make a greater impact in their residents’ lives. Meier Hall, one of the men’s residence halls, has redesigned their programs to present a more holistic emphasis. Lamson Hall, the women’s residence hall, is using service and lifestyle-improvement programs to foster unity within and help those outside their walls.
In Meier Hall, traditional worships are biweekly. Twice a week, RAs lead activities on their halls, which can range from simple gatherings to Bible studies. Other programs, including a “Manclass,” integrate Christian principles with essential life skills, such as changing a tire or managing personal finances. “It’s not just teaching [the residents] how to balance a checkbook, but we also incorporate a Christian understanding of financial matters,” says Zachary Juniper, assistant dean of men.
Meier’s deans and student leaders wanted to provide a variety of spiritual programming that reaches as many audiences as possible. That way, students can select a worship experience that is meaningful to them. The goal of these programs is to bring “God into the everyday lives of men,” says Juniper.
One student involved in bringing God into the everyday lives of students is Jonathan Cobb, a junior who coordinates the Wednesday evening worship.
“Last year I took over the planning with Chaplain Japhet De Oliveira and Dean Juniper,” says Cobb. “We conducted surveys to discover the exact spiritual needs on campus. We then introduced a new worship team and brought in more of the speakers from the University chapels.
“This year we have been blessed with an amazing worship team, God’s presence, and a chapel packed with over 300 students every week. We are bringing in speakers like Lee Venden, Ann Roda, Eddie Hypolite, and others. Wednesday night worship has turned into a time for a mid-week break from school to listen to and worship our Creator and Father in Heaven.”
A holistic approach isn’t new to the ladies of Lamson Hall, but each year the staff brings a renewed passion to their programming. They incorporate several smaller methods to emphasize every aspect of the Christian life. Similar to Meier’s “Manclass,” Lamson Hall offers a “Total Package” worship that ties spiritual components into practical aspects of life. “We’re trying to un-compartmentalize God and bring Him into every aspect of life,” says June Madrigal, associate dean of women.
Occurring every semester, Womanhood Week is a time when the residents can focus specifically on what it means to be a Christian woman and have a growing relationship with God, and provides a safe outlet for questions that residents may not be able to ask their male pastors. Two ongoing lifestyle-improvement incentives, “Catch a Wise Woman” and “NEWSTART,” reward women for spiritual, educational and physical growth. Residents are given tickets every time they are caught doing something that will enrich their spiritual, physical or academic lives. They are then able to redeem the tickets for a selection of prizes. “Secret Service” month encourages random acts of kindness throughout the dorm.
Every semester, the residents participate in a community service project. The first semester is usually devoted to a Lamson-wide project and projects are done by halls during second semester. This semester, Lamson Hall is partnering with Interra Foundation to raise funds for a women’s literacy program in Nepal. So far Lamson ladies have raised over $1,000 by holding a yard sale as well as collecting donations from within the residence hall community itself. An RA, Gaby Fernandez, is on the board of Interra Foundation and brought the project to the attention of the staff. “When we heard about it, we absolutely fell in love, because empowerment of women is exactly the sort of thing we support,” says Madrigal. Fund-raising for this project will continue throughout the semester.
-Written by Samantha Snively, student news writer, Office of Integrated Marketing & Communication