By Aren Rennacker
BS in Public Relations & Journalism, Minor in Theology, 2011
Three years ago, I graduated from PUC. It was one of the greatest days of my life, the culmination of four years spent studying, growing, and oversleeping. I was thrilled to have reached the end, but sad to no longer be on the journey.
One of the best parts about that journey was the residence life. I know when most people think of cool college living, they don’t think of dormitories. It’s about getting an apartment, joining a fraternity or sorority, and not worrying about curfew. But at PUC, dorm life is a huge part of college. It’s as essential to the experience as buying books and writing papers. You can get off-campus housing (maybe), but for my lender’s money, I wouldn’t consider it.
My home from 2007-2011 was Grainger Hall, one of three male dorms on campus. Grainger is like a fraternity in that it emphasizes close community among its 160 tenants. The residents call themselves MOG, Men of Grainger, and are active in dorm events, such as Olympic games and Thursday night worships, and campus life, including vespers programs and athletics. They also hold fast to many long-standing traditions.
But what exactly makes a Man of Grainger? I was fortunate enough to serve as the head residential assistant of the dorm my final year (look out), so I figured I should research it and find out.
Grainger Hall’s namesake is William C. Grainger, a teacher at the original Healdsburg campus who became the college’s second president in 1886. Under his leadership, the college flourished. A tall, thin, dark-haired man (think the Adventist Abe Lincoln), Grainger came west after a grasshopper plague forced him out of Missouri. Tell me that doesn’t build fortitude.
Grainger was not a man of many words, but was known to always give his full time and attention to whomever he was with, no matter how busy his schedule was. He was known to stand up for women when male students did not fully respect them, and believed strongly in their abilities. He often trained women to be ready for work in the conference, even though employment opportunities for women at that time were rare. Finally, though he constantly used his Bible, he never made a mark in it because he worked hard to memorize Scripture. “W.C. is as true a Christian as Christian gets,” some old guy likely said.
So, what did I find out? Grainger Hall’s namesake always gave his time to others, deeply respected women, and was passionate about the Bible. That’s a Man of Grainger, and it makes me even more proud to be a part of MOG.
I’m writing this from a plane flying me home from Phoenix where I served in my friend’s wedding. The two of us met seven years ago as neighbors on Grainger’s third floor. I’ve got four more weddings in the next six months, all for guys I lived with at PUC. I’ll say again, one of the best parts of the PUC experience is the residence life. Keep in mind, all of our dorms are great., each with their own story. I hear Jim Newton invented the spork.
Following my PUC graduation, I moved down to San Diego to work at a church with an ocean view and perfect weather—and yet, I miss having 160 roommates. It helped shape who I am, created lasting memories, and gave me life-long friends. I may not be quite the man William C. Grainger was, but I think I’ve got one thing figured out: If you’re going to PUC, don’t be afraid to pass on the apartment.
(Editor’s Note: Check out our new video about PUC residence life!)