News - The Gymnasium Boom and The Simple Room

The Gymnasium Boom and The Simple Room

Carla Morris

Students roofing the gymnasium worked against a ticking clock. They needed to enclose the new construction before winter set in. Fall semester 1914 had commenced, and they laid shingles when they weren’t attending class.

The construction of Burritt Gymnasium exemplified “community” at its best. Students had raised one third of the projected $6,000 needed to complete it. They inspired financial support from college trustees and engaged “the whole school family.”

Today, that sense of community still invites students like Josiah Mohr ’19 to participate in something bigger than “self.”

Simple Room StaffUniversity Students Keep Programming Humming at The Simple Room

When Josiah signed on to tutor youngsters at The Simple Room in Greenville, he joined a community of volunteers who echoed the spirit of the Burritt builders.

“We have a saying that has become our welcoming anthem,” Josiah says. “‘Welcome to The Simple Room where we love you!’ We will say it to kids, volunteers, prospective kids, guests. . . This is central to everything we do.”

“Everything” at The Simple Room goes back to 1983, when Professor James A. Reinhard ’54 and 19 Interterm students imagined “creative, spiritual” ways to reach local youth. They rented space in a downtown building, where they conversed with youngsters over donuts, hot chocolate and games of UNO®.

A Ministry of Friendship

Today, nearly 100 Greenville University students carry on the work each semester, “empowering youth and building community.” Ben Wayman ’02, assistant professor of philosophy and theology and long time Simple Room board member, calls the collaboration a “ministry of friendship.”

His observation reminds us how conversation inspires community in all its forms—like college students engaged with schoolchildren in a board game, or others, on a rooftop, hammering hard with the clock ticking.

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2017 RECORD.

Learn More

Literacy Program Partners MAE-Reading Program with The Simple Room
An Interview With Simple Room Director Jesse Tyrell
A year of Adventures for World Outreach and Missions
Calling: Receiving Little Gifts

You can extend the long tradition of community at Greenville University. Give today.

Together Inspired-sm

This story was published on August 07, 2017

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