While the sense of community that makes NNU unique isn’t bound to a physical space, we all have dear memories tied to residence halls, cafeteria tables, classrooms and sports fields. Relationships need opportunity to grow and thrive, and the places and spaces on NNU’s campus provide that. The Student Center has always been the center of life for our largely residential campus, and the time has come to reconceive how this critical space can continue to meet the needs of students into the university’s second century.
The new Student Commons will first and foremost be an intentional space for students to interact, learn and live life together. It will provide an inclusive sense of place where all NNU constituents—resident and commuter students, graduates and undergraduates, faculty, staff, alumni and off-campus guests—can come together to build relationships. The Student Commons will provide campus information, student services, gathering areas and community-building activities.
Most importantly, the Student Commons will be the family room of campus where life takes place.
More than a functional facility, the Student Commons will be a home away from home for students. As the home’s front door, it will welcome guests and community visitors as well as prospective students in the Admissions Welcome Center, in which you will be able to hear the NNU story. It will serve as a new and improved dining room—boasting indoor and outdoor seating and retail food options—where hearts as well as stomachs will be fed. A variety of amenities like a two-story fireplace, indoor and outdoor lounge areas, study and huddle rooms, large gathering spaces for student events and recreational equipment rentals will make it a rec room for students. But most importantly, it will serve as a family room where life takes place from organized campus life activities to casual hang-outs and intimate conversations.
Student service functions will be essential to the Commons, bringing together under one roof student government, student clubs and organizations, the Office of Student Life, Career Center, Student Retention and the Office of University Missions & Ministry. These services are all critical components for developing the whole person.
The Student Center of years past—and the new Student Commons—are not only beneficial for current students, but are also impactful on alumni for the rest of their lives and on the communities they enter after leaving NNU. Alumni are continually finding ways to create authentic community like they experienced and practiced at NNU wherever they are planted after graduation. This ripple effect is well worth our continued investment.
With over 85 percent of the funding in place, preparations are beginning for the groundbreaking of this vital facility as soon as funds are committed. Join us in celebrating the fond memories made in the Student Center of years past as we anticipate a place that will foster growth in our student body and transformation in individual students for generations to come.
As we release this latest edition of the Messenger, a host of generous supporters have already contributed or pledged $14.5 million of the $16.5 million needed to begin construction on the new Student Commons. We would like to break ground this fall, but we need all funding in hand or pledged before this can take place.