(Part 2 of 5)
In 2008, the HBU Board of Trustees approved the Ten Pillars Vision, which outlines the directional emphases of the University. The fourth item on the list is to “Establish a Residential Society of Learning.” More than half of students live on campus – in the Sadie & Doug Hodo Residence College, the Husky Village Apartments, Philips Men’s and Women’s Residential College, and Mest.
Jeremie Middleton, former HBU director of Residence Life, said, “I think what students get most out of staying on campus is the ability to live and learn together. We have all the necessities in the residence halls. You just have to bring the things to make it yours.”
There are academic advantages too. With less time on the road and more resources at hand, students who live on campus have higher GPAs on average. Furthermore, living independently of parents can foster a next level of maturity.
“You have to get out of bed on time and study on your own without a parent telling you to,” points out Giovanni Arellano, assistant director of Residence Life. As a former student of HBU, Arellano tried both ways – commuter and residential student. “Being on campus really added to my overall experience,” he said.
Grace Gervais, also an assistant director of Residence Life, and the team provide opportunities for fun and connection among students. There are traditional affairs throughout the year like Bingo Night, the Homecoming Dance, the Crawfish Boil, the Polar Bear Plunge, and even Christmas in the Courtyard. “I know, for me, when I was a student, I was really shy,” Gervais said. “Living on campus forced me to get out of my shell and get involved.”
On a day-to-day basis, the Residence Life team members are available at all times since they also live on campus. They follow up on maintenance needs, answer questions and provide support. “We try to go above and beyond to meet needs,” Arellano said. In addition to staff presence, strict entrance protocol and HBU Police presence help assure the safety of residents.
Beyond friendships and staff guidance, the presence of caring resident assistants (RAs) is a central part of students’ experience. “Connecting is one of the things we’re best at,” Middleton said. “The fact that a relationship with Christ is a requirement for staff makes us stand out among colleges too. That’s unrivaled near us.”
At mealtime, students can choose the Baugh Dining Hall or Chick-fil-A in the MD Anderson Student Center. For a-la-carte options, the coffee shop, Java City in the Moody Library, as well as two on-campus convenience store stations, Hinton POD located in the Hinton Center lobby, and Husky POD in Husky Village, provide variety.
“While HBU concentrates on enriching a student’s mind and spirit, we focus on the culinary experience and are committed to enhancing it,” said Benny Gilbert, Aramark Food Service director. Dining options in the Baugh vary from American classics to Latin, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern flavors. “Our themed meals are very popular,” he said.
Dining staff balance nutrition and taste. “The vegan and vegetarian items served in the dining hall have become very popular as some students are looking for healthier options. Of course, mac and cheese and chicken nuggets are still the most popular food items,” Gilbert said. Beyond the main food service selections, students can stop at the bookstore for snack items, or opt to visit one of several restaurants located at the Pillars at HBU, adjacent to campus.
Visit HBU.edu/Housing for Residence Life Information.