Exterior of Lamson Hall, the undergraduate women's residence hall. [Photo credit: Jackson John]

April 11, 2024

Maranatha To Lead Project at Andrews University

From May 12–June 2, 2024, Maranatha Volunteers International and Andrews University will carry out significant upgrades to Lamson Hall.

Maranatha, a non-profit construction organization that works in conjunction with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, will provide volunteer labor and a website for volunteer sign-up, with the goal of 100 volunteers participating for the full three weeks. Andrews will provide lodging and food for volunteers in addition to the necessary materials. Andrews is also raising funds to cover the estimated $2 million in total project costs. So far—with contributions from the President’s Council, the Board of Trustees, and other gifts—over $1.1 million has been raised.

“On behalf of Andrews University, I would like to extend the warm invitation to join us in this endeavor, through the support of your presence or through helping us fund the materials and furnishings for the renovation,” states University President John Wesley Taylor V. “And a special ‘Thank you!’ to Maranatha Volunteers International for their leadership and valued partnership in this endeavor. Together we will make a difference in the lives of our students, the candidates of God’s Kingdom!”

The focus of this project will be to make as much progress as possible on Lamson West, where volunteers will perform a facelift to the original bathroom suites. Teams will also work on refinishing residence hall rooms with paint, carpet and moveable desks. It is anticipated that, as Maranatha involvement continues, the total project will span the next two to three summers.

Lamson Hall was built in two sections with an overall capacity of 600 occupants. Lamson East was completed in 1947 with individual rooms and community bathrooms, while Lamson West was completed in 1967 with two-room suites and connecting bathrooms. 

Over the years, upgrades like carpet, paint, furnishings and Lamson East community bathrooms have been made as funds were available. However, the Lamson West suite bathrooms and the built-in desks in both sections of Lamson are original. While Lamson West desks are newer than Lamson East desks, the Lamson West desks are more in need of an upgrade. 

Student feedback has also reflected the necessity to change both the bathrooms and the desk set-up. “Each year we survey our residence hall students,” says Jennifer Burrill, assistant vice president for Campus & Student Life and assistant vice president for Residence Life. “Typically two students are sharing 140 square feet of space, and students have requested more flexibility with that space—the ability to configure their rooms as they like. In the 2022–2023 survey, residents could select from options of what they considered the most needed improvements in Lamson. Sixty-eight percent selected ‘remove built-in desks and replace with moveable desks’ and 56% selected ‘suite bathrooms.’ These were the top two needs according to residents.”

As a result, the Residence Life team coordinated with Andrews faculty and staff through Change It Up Day, a campus beautification day in spring 2023, to replace the built-in desks in approximately 50 Lamson rooms. Now that process will continue. 

Maranatha volunteers will be provided lodging in Lamson Hall rooms—on-campus full RV hookups are available as well—and three meals a day. Local volunteers are invited to join, too, and lunches will be provided. Individuals with experience installing carpet (tiles), ceramic tile and plumbing are especially needed. The team asks for a one-week minimum volunteering commitment. All interested volunteers, including local, should sign up at the Maranatha website. Registration will close at the beginning of May.

“We are excited that this collaboration between Andrews and Maranatha will result in changes to Lamson that directly meet our residents’ needs,” says Burrill. “We look forward to the upcoming work!”

Founded in 1874, Andrews University is a premier institution of higher education for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and offers more than 150 areas of study, including advanced degrees. Its main campus is in Berrien Springs, Michigan, but the University also provides instruction at colleges and universities in more than 25 countries around the world.

Office of University Communication, Andrews University