Off the Block Party to Host Games and Fun for Everyone

Off the Block PartyCommuter Life is reinventing how they form commuter events and everyone is invited to experience the first test run on Thursday from 11-1 p.m. on Heath Lawn.

The Off the Block Party’s slogan is “You Bring the Party”. Commuters and on-campus students are invited to bring friends, skateboards, guitars and whatever else they want, to add to the games and snacks that Commuter Life will provide. For games, Commuter Life is bringing a football, soccer, Frisbee, horseshoes, corn hole and croquet.

Along with sports and other games, this “little summer bash” will feature summer tunes, ice cream sandwiches and an all-inclusive environment that differs from past commuter events, commuter program director David Remedios said. “The No. 1 thing we want to do is create an inclusive environment for commuters,” Remedios said. He noted that, in the past, most commuter events have focused so much on getting commuters together that they lacked a key component: the integration of commuters into the Vanguard community as a whole.

The Off the Block Party will encourage integration and set a trajectory for future Commuter Life events. “This is just kind of testing the waters a bit,” Remedios said about the party. Looking ahead to the event, Remedios said he is looking forward to seeing commuters’ response to this new way of doing commuter events.

To learn more about Commuter Life, click here.

Students and their Grandparents Enjoy Quality Time Together at Annual Grandparents Day

ShahlaGrandparentsDayCollageOn April 4, the Vanguard University campus filled with young and old for the annual Grandparents Day.

Each year, Vanguard invites students to bring their grandparents to campus for a day full of free activities. It’s a chance for student’s grandparents to see and experience their grandchild’s home away from home. One student, junior communications major Shahla Hijaz, said that her grandparents “were genuinely excited, happy and honored to be there.”

Sharing their experience, Hijaz said her grandparents, Manuel and Gloria Garcia, were excited to have the chance to be with her and to catch a glimpse of the place that provides her education and contributes to her overall growth. Coming from Simi Valley, the Garcias are Hijaz’s mom’s parents. Hijaz spoke of the blessing her grandparents have been in her life and her gratitude for the close relationship she shares with them. “They’re always so excited to support me,” she said.

For the event, Vanguard hosted multiple activities for students and their grandparents to enjoy. Activities included dining and devotions, a presentation by the Alzheimer’s Association and the Celebration of Significance Luncheon. At the luncheon, Vanguard’s choir sang, warming the hearts of multiple attendees. Hijaz said that her grandmother thoroughly enjoyed the singing and even felt tears well up in her eyes.

After the event’s activities, Hijaz took her grandparents on a little tour of the campus. When showing them the communications office, she had the chance to introduce her grandparents to many of her professors as they passed through. Looking back on the introductions, Hijaz laughed as she pictured her grandmother skipping the handshakes and going straight for the hug with each professor. “She greets everyone with a warm embrace… She’s a hugger. She doesn’t shake hands,” Hijaz said.

At the end of the day, Hijaz, her mom and her grandparents went to Balboa for a boat tour. Looking back on the day, Hijaz said: “That was exactly the medicine I needed: Their love and comfort.” With school being pretty overwhelming at the time, their short visit was the spark she needed to keep going and finish the semester strong.

To learn more about Grandparents Day, click here.

Night of Storytelling Fills Seats and Warms Hearts

sigmatd_identitySeats filled on April 1 in the Great Commission Hall for Sigma Tau Delta’s Night of Storytelling with professors Adam Ayers, Ph.D., and Jerry Camery-Hoggatt, Ph.D.

Meaningful stories, laughter and snacks setup this storytelling eve for success. Sigma Tau Delta Co-president Elaina Ahmed said the event’s turnout, with every seat taken, was a great surprise. As co-presidents of Vanguard’s English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, sophomore Ahmed and junior Annie Sparks led the creation of the event with the help of the society’s former president, alumni Michelle Schonken ’13.

For the event, both professors shared original short stories. Dr. Ayers told comedic tales and used accents to bring his stories to life. Dr. Camery-Hoggatt told a “tender” story about his background growing up in the South, Sigma Tau Delta Co-president Elaina Ahmed said.  Along with entertainment, their stories shared important messages, like the importance of really looking at a person, and not just their physical image, Ahmed said.

Looking back on the event, Ahmed described it as “one of those moments” where the Vanguard community came together, enjoyed one another’s company and turned their attention toward God. “We definitely look forward to repeating this and making it bigger and better each time,” she said.

To find out more about Sigma Tau Delta, click here.

Seniors Play Games and Win Prizes at Senior “Final 40” Carnival

SeniorCarnival1Balloon-popping dartboards, popcorn and prizes set the stage for the Senior “Final 40” Carnival on March 31 at 9:30 p.m.

About 70 seniors gathered outside by the sand volleyball court Monday night to kick off a final 40 days countdown to graduation. The Senior “Final 40” Carnival featured multiple games, snacks and prizes. Also, at the end of the night, a sneak preview of the senior graduation slideshow played on a projector.

Like an actual carnival, the event had numerous games for attendees to choose to play. Games included Just Dance on the projector, life-size Jenga, water pong, a balloon-popping dartboard and a big Twister board. Game winners received raffle tickets to go toward the many prize drawings. Prizes were gift cards, a senior sweatshirt and a cap and gown.

For the event, senior transitions directors Madison Spikes and Justine Walters partnered with Student Government Association (SGA) senior program director Tommi Ploneis. Looking back at the event, senior Spikes said: “it became almost a reunion.” So many seniors came together that had not been together in such a long time, she said.

To learn more about the Office of Transitions, click here.

“Move 2:30” Campaign to Instill Healthy Habits

move-230-2-logoCollege is a time of exciting growth; however, there is one kind of growth that many college students experience that is not as exciting: sideways growth. Combatting the “freshmen 15” and other unhealthy college habits, Vanguard’s recreation department created the Move 2:30 campaign.

For the campaign, students are invited to spend the month of April getting out and getting active. VU Rec is providing multiple exercise opportunities and learning opportunities for students to holistically improve their health. The campaign’s events include: boot camps, running groups, Olympic lifting, a nutrition lecture, rock climbing, yoga and dodge ball.

Along with multiple free community events, the campaign also offers a chance to win a new pair of Nike Free running shoes. April 2-23, students can log their physical activity online for a chance to win. To start logging your activity, click here!

Forming healthy habits now is crucial, the coordinator for intramural and recreational programs, Jon Krapivkin ’12, said. He described the struggle many of his fellow graduates are combatting now because of the bad habits they started in college. College is a crucial time for growing intellectually and spiritually while also acquiring healthy habits, he said.

To learn more about the Move 2:30 campaign and to view the calendar of events, click here.