A living lab: doing life in community
WILMORE, KY — Christ calls us to live in community with other believers to encourage, motivate and grow together in faith. This communal mandate is one that is celebrated and cherished among Asbury University alumni and current students. While residence life requirements for traditional undergraduate students have waned at many private and public universities around the nation, Asbury University has remained steadfast in their commitment to require students, freshmen through seniors, to live among each other in community.
Residence life experiences have changed throughout the decades, from traditional dormitory-style residences to suites with lounges, entertainment areas and kitchens to allow for more community interaction. However, students at Asbury still leave their doors unlocked, pray with each other, and play the occasional prank on one another. From the beginning of Asbury’s history, President Hughes required students to live on campus among each other thus he made arrangements to ensure that all students had housing on campus. In fact, his wife Mary Hughes was instrumental in supervising and directing the residence life experience. She even designed the student residences during construction. When a fire destroyed Glide and Crawford halls in April of 1924, work began as soon as the smoke cleared to reconstruct the facilities. The new building was ready by fall albeit with wet plaster and lack of door knobs.
Throughout Asbury University’s history as enrollment grew, so did the number of living quarters. When Johnson Hall opened in 1947 men tripled up in rooms designed for two as the enrollment surpassed 1,000. Throughout the 1960s, the board continued to devote construction funds toward campus housing, instead of allowing upperclassmen to secure off campus housing.
Today, there are few exceptions to allow students to reside off campus and alumni and students agree that is a good thing. Most alumni share the top two things they miss about Asbury are Chapel (despite the occasional confession of skipping) and community. Dr. John Morley ’85, former Johnson Hall resident director and current In-Reach coordinator, says that the community alumni speak of is rooted in the residence life experience. "[The residence life experience] is not about being perfect. It is about allowing Christ to heal us, to meet us and to redeem us. Through this community, we journey together with fellow students toward holiness. Students are allowed to be real with each other, reveal their weaknesses and share life together." For the rest of this article and others from the Summer 2010 Ambassador, read the online edition!