Caroline Wilkerson ~ Staff Writer
On Aug. 6, 2019, the Dean of Students announced that students assigned to be living in the new residence hall would instead be moved into the Annex until the weekend of September 14th, 2019.
The Annex, a former hotel used by Liberty University during renovations, has been turned into a living spaces for students. The Annex was loaned to the University of Lynchburg by Liberty University free of charge and is located on Old Fellows Road, which is just under a three mile drive to the University.
Due to the distance from the university’s campus, students have felt disconnected. Jason Wood, a junior, said, “It is a situation that no one wants to be in. Being far away from campus is not ideal, and it is certainly a hassle for all of us. It is difficult for students because the first three weeks of school is when everyone settles in and it feels like we have a late start to that.”
Student Madysen Bucley, sophomore, added, “So for me, living at The Annex feels incredibly isolating being off-campus and away from everyone. It also feels very unsafe because of the lack of security. One security officer does not really help the new environment much. Also with moving into the new building, I am really excited to see what they have created. I really hope they can help move-in especially because we will not have our parents or anyone close to us to help. It is all a huge inconvenience, but I am just ready to finally feel a part of the campus and student life again.”
Recognizing the less than desirable circumstances, Residence Life and other University of Lynchburg faculty members have made major efforts to make this situation the best it can be by providing transportation, dining, security, and other services.
Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life, Kristen Cooper, said, “We want the students to feel as part of the Lynchburg Community regardless of their location.”
The transportation situation includes a shuttle system partnered with Blue Ridge Tours that runs Monday through Friday every half hour, as well as University of Lynchburg shuttles run by faculty during the off-hours. As for dining services, students have been given complimentary breakfast, grab-and-go meals, Domino’s meal exchanges, and free-of-charge food truck access when students are not able to access the dining services on campus. There is also 24-hour security.
Katelyn Blue, sophomore, said, “I honestly don’t mind living at the Annex. It feels strange to not be actually on campus yet, and it can be a bit of a nuisance planning travel time, considering that’s something I typically don’t have to do while living on campus. But knowing that it’s only for two more weeks and that all inconveniences, such as meals and travelling have been fully addressed by the University and communicated clearly to the students makes it much less stressful than if the University had been less accommodating. Also, this free laundry will surely be missed once we move to the new building.”
Cooper added, “There has been such a great community effort in order to best serve our students and we appreciate the students being so patient and understanding during this situation.”