Feature Story

A ‘Groundbreaking’ Day in SLU History

October 2, 2015 – by Julia Stone ’16

Ohio Wesleyan celebrated the groundbreaking of its new Small Living Unit ‘SLUplex’ on Sept. 25. Sharing in the celebration are (from left) Cameron Pappa ’16 (House of Spiritual Athletes), Sarah Lucas ’16 (Citizens of the World House), Chase Montana Smith

Ohio Wesleyan Begins Construction on New Student Housing

Ohio Wesleyan celebrated the groundbreaking of its new Small Living Unit ‘SLUplex’ on Sept. 25. Sharing in the celebration are (from left) Cameron Pappa ’16 (House of Spiritual Athletes), Sarah Lucas ’16 (Citizens of the World House), Chase Montana Smith ’17 (Inter-Faith House), Emma Drongowski ’16 (Honors House), OWU President Rock Jones, Emma Sparks ’16 (House of Peace & Justice), Alanna Spalsbury ’16 (Modern Foreign Languages House), Reilly Reynolds ’16 (Tree House), Kaila Johnson ’16 (House of Black Culture), and Lissette Gonzalez ’17 (Sexuality and Gender Equality House). (Photo by Hannah Wargo ’19)

Ohio Wesleyan University students and administrators gathered with architects and construction workers on Sept. 25 to break ground for the first “SLUplex” on Rowland Avenue. The donor-funded project will be OWU’s first all-new student housing in 50 years.

In fall 2016, students will move into the duplex-style building that will house two OWU Small Living Unit (SLU) communities.

President Rock Jones told the crowd at the groundbreaking that he is thrilled the Board of Trustees chose to invest in the SLUplexes, and he hopes the SLU community will continue to evolve and enhance the OWU experience for everyone.

“The SLUs enrich the entire campus and provide opportunities for small groups of students to develop dynamic and vibrant communities of shared interest and purpose,” Jones said in his remarks.

The groundbreaking also featured remarks from current house moderators: Emma Drongowski ’16 (Honors House), Kaila Johnson ’16 (House of Black Culture), Alanna Spalsbury ’16 (Modern Foreign Languages House), and Reilly Reynolds ’16 (Tree House).

Reynolds said she appreciates that the event focused on the positive aspects of the new SLUs, while still recognizing those who built the foundation of the current SLU community. She also appreciates that the new SLUplexes will be more environmentally friendly.

“It’s great that OWU is recognizing the importance of our communities and sustaining them,” she said.

After the speeches, SLU and theme house moderators donned hard hats to help break ground for the construction project. Other SLU residents also took turns shoveling, and everyone was invited to blow bubbles and enjoy refreshments.

For the event, all of the SLUs were invited to bring items that represent them as a house for a time capsule. Besides house relics, SLU members included memories about SLU life written on slips of paper. The time capsule will be opened by the SLU community once the construction of multiple planned SLUplexes is complete.

Sarah Lucas ’16, moderator of Citizens of the World (CoW) House, said she hopes the SLU community continues to grow and support one another while exploring their house missions, adding that it was melancholy to stand on the previous site of House of Thought, where the new SLUplex is being built.

Chase Smith ’17, moderator of Inter-Faith House, said he hopes the relationship between the SLU community and the administration is positive and mutualistic as projects proceed and the SLU community evolves.

Melinda Benson, new Resident Life Coordinator (RLC) for the SLUs, said she hopes the new SLUplexes will cause more students to explore the process of proposing SLUs in the future.

“Each time a new SLUplex opens, there will be the opportunity for existing houses to apply to change to a different space, or for new SLU proposals to be selected and find a place in our SLU family,” Benson said. “This is the most exciting thing to me.”

Cameron Pappa ’16 is the moderator of the newest SLU on campus, the House of Spiritual Athletes (HSA). HSA provides a support system and encourages discussion about how to bring spirituality, compassion, and integrity to the playing field, classroom, and community.

“One of the most exciting things for me is the thought of having all the SLUs in one general location, especially one so close to the heart of campus,” Pappa said. “We have discovered that a SLU is so much more than just people living together.”

Emma Sparks ’16, moderator of P&J, said it is sad to say goodbye to old SLU houses, but she hopes the SLU community remains positive throughout the upcoming changes.

“While our houses are beautiful, and it is really hard to say goodbye to them, it’s also important to remember that the warmth and joy we feel in our respective houses comes from the people living in them, not just the structures,” Sparks said.

Current SLUs include the Citizens of the World House, House of Spiritual Athletes, Inter-Faith House, Modern Foreign Languages House, Peace and Justice House, Tree House, and Sexuality and Gender Equality (SAGE) House. Theme houses include House of Black Culture and the Honors house.

Learn more about OWU’s Small Living Units at https://www.owu.edu/student-life/housing-dining/housing-options/small-living-units/.