Andrews University Receives Dorm Upgrades

By Sidney Needles -  June 27, 2024


Andrews University Receives Dorm Upgrades from Maranatha Volunteers

In May, a 61-member group from Maranatha Volunteers International, a supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, arrived at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, to help with an important campus upgrade.

Volunteers spent three weeks renovating 23 rooms and their 12 shared bathrooms in Lamson Hall, the school’s undergraduate female dormitory. These rooms were built in 1967 and in dire need of a facelift. “The complaints have been through the roof about, you know, the things that we have to work with here,” said one of Lamson’s associate deans, Trudean Scott-Elliott. “And we are just so thrilled at this project because it's going to provide new rooms and new bathrooms.”

Lamson’s bathroom plumbing often backs up, causing flooding and mold growth.

“Some of the pipes, especially the drain pipes are old cast iron and they're starting to rust out or to split and leak,” said Andrews University’s Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management, Steve Nash. “We'll have a resident say, ‘Hey, there's some water dripping on my ceiling,’ or ‘There's water coming out of the wall.’”

Volunteers stripped rooms of their old amenities before installing new carpet, tile, desks, light fixtures, toilets, and showers. They also gave each room fresh paint and electrical wiring. Many volunteers did this with no prior renovation experience, but worked well under the supervision of Jon Harvey, Maranatha’s volunteer construction superintendent for the project. “The work culture is very pleasant,” he remarked. “When you work in a construction field, as I do, if I tell a person to do something, sometimes they're crabby, and they complain … Here as a volunteer, that doesn't happen … It's a pleasant atmosphere because … they want to be taught how to do something. So it's a really enjoyable thing.”

Maranatha is known for bringing together volunteers from diverse backgrounds, and the project at Andrews University was no different. Some participants were repeat volunteers, who have already served together on multiple projects in North America this year. But there were also many first time volunteers, and some who traveled from Papua New Guinea, Peru, Brazil, and Jamaica. “When you have a calling from God to give back, it is a turn,” remarked volunteer Ruth James, who came all the way from Jamaica to fulfill a life-long dream to serve. “There's a certain type of fulfillment and a satisfaction and accomplishment that you are doing this in honor of what God has called us to do. He asks us to serve our fellow men.”

Each year, Maranatha works with organizations in the United States and Canada to provide volunteer labor for various construction or renovation projects at summer camps and retreat centers, schools, and churches. Work ranges from renovations of existing buildings to new construction, and saves thousands of dollars in labor costs.