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MVNU unveils The REC, a new student space

 Mount Vernon Nazarene University students arrived on campus with a new multi-purpose gathering space that is expected to be a new campus hot spot.

Located on the first floor of Hyson Campus Center, The REC is an expansion of the Recreational Equipment Center, where students have free access to outdoor equipment like kayaks, bicycles, hammocks, games, athletic equipment and more. The reimagined area includes the former lobby, post office, and Student Government Association office. The area will accommodate the event needs of SGA and provide indoor social interactive space. In addition to different congregation areas, The REC includes artificial turf for that outdoorsy feel to swing, play cornhole and other traditionally outside activities.

The Student Life Department unveiled The Rec with an official ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 23, attended by faculty, staff, students, contractors and supporters.

The space was a dream of Tracy Waal, former Vice President for Student Life, who was in attendance for the ribbon cutting. Moving his vision forward were current Vice President for Student Life Dr. Matt Spraker; Tiffany Van Dame, Director of Residence Life; and Sarah Mowry, Assistant Director of Residence Life. A Student Planning Group, which was instrumental in the big picture design of the area, included Ryan Kuhn, Evan Hodkinson, Maggie Little, Fernanda Sanchez, Seth Lapp and Brookstyn Black.

“I hope you think about what the future is going to look like in this space and in the coming days and weeks as the students start to gather. We hope that it’s a place where they can grow in relationship with each other and with the Lord,” said Spraker. 

The space will continue to evolve over time including the addition of a shuffleboard table, foosball, and other amenities. Spraker also stated SGA is working on ideas to include evening food service options. 

“I am thankful for all the people who did the work on this,” said Logan Kazelman, SGA President. “This is going to be a place for us to come together as a team. We’re going to use this for events and to create more of the positive culture that we have here at MVNU.”

Included in the redesign is a new Commuter Lounge that provides a space for commuter students to hang out between classes, study, or eat a snack or meal and be connected to residential students.

As MVNU searched for a new president, it was important to the Board of Trustees and leadership that projects like The REC continued to move forward. 

“We wanted to make sure we did not stand still as a university; that we kept moving in a positive direction,” said Dr. David Wilson Sr., MVNU Transitional Leader. “As (President) Dr. Carson Castleman has reminded us again and again — students are our priority. You are our reason for being. Without students, there’s no reason for us to exist. And so, for you, we are grateful for the work that has been done for you and we hope you’ll enjoy it and that you’ll experience the blessing of God here.”

Scott Campbell, CFO and Vice President for Finance, recognized campus leaders and their teams who were integral to the completion of The REC including Ben Cook, Director of Facilities; Dennis Dennison, Assistant Director of Building Trades; Sarah Mowry, Assistant Director of Residence Life; and Katie Booth, Assistant Vice President of Marketing. He thanked Pioneer Food Service for their support of the project and contractors Modern Builders, Options Plus Furniture, Contract Source Inc., Wohlford Electric, Cosby Heating and Cooling, and Nice Floors.

To learn more about student life at MVNU, visit

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education both in-seat and online to nearly 2,000 students from 25 states and 11 foreign countries. 

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