Liberty University’s Big Expansion
Walking into Liberty University Convocation students are packed in tight with barely any room to move around. Every seat is filled with the student population. According to Dean Robert Mullen, the reason the Vines is so packed is because of the rapid growth.
“It’s reflective of the strength of Liberty, that so many freshmen want to come here, and that strength is indicative not just of overall, it’s indicative of financial strength,” said Mullen.
According to Mullen the class of 2020 is reported to be the biggest class in Liberty University history; so much space is being taken up by the freshmen class, they can’t even park on campus. Students all over are being attracted to LU and the student retention rate is slowly beginning to level out.
According to Len Stevens, executive director of external communications, this means some great things for Liberty as a whole, as more students come to Liberty University more money is being paid, strengthening Liberty financially.
“Generally speaking, it helps to have more students because in theory that means more money is being paid through enrollment fees and it’s a sign of a growing, thriving university, which Liberty certainly is,” said Len Stevens, the executive director of external communication.
According to Stevens, Liberty is doing well overall with managing finances and expects their financial stability to only improve from here; but according to Stevens as Liberty University grows in numbers the school is beginning to feel a little tight. Housing has had to be adjusted for all the students that are coming onto campus this year, the lack of space forced the re-opening of a dorm that is off campus.
According to Mullen, the dorm Annex was closed down last spring semester and all the students living there were moved to the new dorm Commons II. The Annex was expected to stay closed as a dormitory to students, but because the growth in the student population the Annex has been re-opened for students to live in. Mullen says it is unclear when Commons III will finish being built to move all students on campus, so the Annex will be opened until further notice from the University.
Liberty commuter, Jane Sylvers, says that she had to find housing elsewhere this semester because she couldn’t find a dorm to stay in. But she believes that there is a bright side off campus.
“I don’t mind commuting at all, in fact I prefer it, given the conditions how traveling is on campus today. I’m glad I’m off campus,” said Sylvers
Mullen has stated, that it may feel like a tight squeeze right now because of all the new comers to Liberty, but there are many places that have been added to the University, as well as some plans in store to make the school feel more spacious. Mullen conformed that there are plans in place to make places such as school of divinity, a new athletic facility and the freedom tower. One new addition to the University is the Montview Student Union.
“ I feel like it (Liberty) is trying its best. It is always adding new buildings different places for us to hang out. I know the library is less packed now that we have the Montview building, which is really nice,” said Junior Traquan Christian.
Mullen believes with all these students that it is easy for students to get lost in the crowd. He says that Liberty is putting in an effort to be more intentional with its students. Mullen believes that providing all students with help, such as resident shepherds will help them spiritually and with other aspects of their lives.
“The freshmen class is considered a big advance to Liberty and so will the classes to come,” said Stevens.
Click below to listen to Samuela Chery talk more about the changes at Liberty: