By my sophomore year at Grand Canyon University’s main campus in Phoenix, most of us students had fondly dubbed the school “Grand Construction University.” As a senior now looking back, I see many different memories each framed essentially by a different campus as the setting and landscape have changed so much during my time at GCU. But it is in looking back that I get even more excited for where GCU is headed and will go in the years when I’m gone.
In 2014, I started as a freshman in Sedona Hall. The area that is now known as the Grove, which houses most of the incoming freshmen, was only a dirt lot where we parked our cars. Our meal plans consisted of Dining Dollars and meal swipes designed for the cafeteria in the Student Union. I still remember, going to breakfast in the Union with my roommates during finals week, spending all day in there studying and eating lunch and dinner for free. We would mess around and play until the early hours of the morning on the turf field where the GCU Soccer Stadium now stands. And, of course, anyone who started my year lives with a fond memory of Mojo Bowl with their tasty fruit bowls.
By my sophomore year in 2015, the Grove and its four massive dormitories were completed. This added new life to campus. The traditional cafeteria was done away with and our campus had new dining options on the stretch that is now known as Lopes Way. My roommates and I were so excited to have a Panda Express on campus, and we ate there the very first day we moved back. Gone was our beloved pool by the Union, and the south side of campus also grew with the addition of the STEM classroom building. The only thing that existed on the other side of the canal was the Colter Parking Lot, where I have fond memories of dusty windshields and long walks.
In true GCU fashion, by my junior year in 2016, campus again had a whole new feel. The small Tell Science building with its desert picnic tables was demolished and in its place stood a new apartment building, Roadrunner. I remember working with my team during Welcome Week and being so excited to peek and see what the new apartments looked like as we unloaded couches and furniture. Campus gained a whole new look with the GCU Soccer Stadium as well; it is simply massive, and I will never forget the first men’s soccer game there. Suddenly, the Colter Lot changed and Agave, the first apartment building on the edge of campus was fully functional.
This year, 2017, the inevitability of change persists with the new Diamondback Apartments and the use of the new intramural fields by them. The engineering building is now fully finished and has dwarfed the CAS 1 and 2 buildings, which we thought were huge my freshman year. Now, I am living in the heart of campus in the North Rim Apartments, which are one of the oldest structures at GCU. Thankfully, there are maps everywhere!
My friends and I laugh at how much campus has changed since we first arrived, but what has stayed the same is campus life and the GCU community. While they have certainly grown, the same events we took part in as freshmen still continue today. Students play intramural games, stay up until the wee hours of the morning in the dorm lobbies, eat lunch together after Chapel, go to basketball games and speed walk to class with minutes to spare. In the future, I look forward to seeing GCU have an even greater impact as it grows more and more.
Grand Canyon University is a growing university in the heart of West Phoenix. Since 1949, we have been helping students find their purpose. To learn about scheduling a campus tour to experience campus for yourself, visit our website or click the Request More Button on this page.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.