Most students are aware of the new Sangren Hall and Lee Honors College renovations, but many are unsure about the new building that was erected on Howard Street this summer.
The Wesley Foundation, Western Michigan University’s United Methodist campus community, is now housing nine students in the residential building located in between Howard Street and Rankin Avenue.
The building process for the first of three residential community houses began in late February and was completed in time for students to live there this school year.
Lisa Batten, campus pastor and director of the Wesley Foundation said that both males and females live in the house. The breakdown of students is – one freshman, two sophomores, one junior, two seniors, two graduate students and one ministry intern.
“The ministry intern serves as the RA of the house,” Batten said.
Batten said that when students apply to live in the residential housing, they sign on to a 12-month lease. She said that it is an open application process.
“Students must fill out an application, explain why they want to live in an intentional living community and provide three references,” Batten said.
Batten also said that one requirement to living in the house is that all the students must hold a meeting at least once a week.
Dennis Muzahuzi, a graduate student from Uganda, said that the house members chose to have their meetings on Friday nights.
“We all have dinner together and then we have our meeting. Two people usually volunteer to make dinner that night,” Dennis said. “We’ve even started talking about forming a group Bible study within the house.”
Muzahuzi said that he wanted to live in a place where people share the same values, somewhere where he felt safe and accepted.
“It’s interesting to meet people that I didn’t grow up with. I like learning about where they are from, even if it’s from a different town in Michigan and not a different country, like me,” Muzahuzi said
Batten, the campus pastor, said that the students that live in the Wesley Foundation residential housing are not required to be involved in any Wesley Foundation activities. However, all of the students currently living in the house are involved in the church’s activities.
Batten also said that there are specific values that are shared in the Wesley Foundation house.
“The four values are education, inclusion, safety and community,” Batten said.
Quotes relating to each of these four values are painted on several walls in the house.
Batten said that anyone who is interested in applying to live in the residential housing is welcome to apply.
The living room, kitchen and study areas on the lower level of the house are furnished. Students are expected to furnish their own bedrooms in the house. Rent is $375 per month and includes everything (cable, Internet, etc.) except for the Consumers Energy bill. A parking permit is also included in the cost of living in the house.
“If students are interested in applying, they may email the Wesley Foundation to receive more information,” Batten said. “One student has already applied to live in the house next year.
Batten said the Wesley Foundation is in the process of making decisions for the next phase of the building project. The organization is looking forward to building two more residential housing facilities and a new student ministry center.
“It all really depends on the demand of students who want to live in the facility as well as our fundraising capabilities,” Batten said.
Batten said the projected end date for the three other buildings is December 2015, which is when the Wesley Foundation must be out of the original building on campus.