New residents continue to move into back campus, a collection of over 60 houses behind the soccer fields, joining a community in which some have lived for more than 50 years.
During the BJU presidencies of Dr. Bob Jones Sr., Dr. Bob Jones Jr. and Dr. Bob Jones III, the University provided housing and meals to faculty and staff as part of their compensation package.
Corinne Scott, the property manager for back campus facilities, said, “The agreement was, for faculty and staff, that the University would take care of virtually all their needs.” Although BJU stopped offering those options as part of the compensation package in 2005, faculty and staff can rent homes on back campus.
To live on back campus, one must be a full-time member of the faculty or staff and put in an application with the size of their family, the type of housing they want and other standard information. Applicants are then put on a waiting list. Since only two or three houses open up for new residents every year, applicants can be on the waiting list for years. A major reason why the homes have such low turnover rates is because roughly half the homes are occupied by retirees, as opposed to short term faculty and staff.
Scott herself has been a resident on back campus for the past four years and has been the manager for eight years. “I had never done anything like this before, but it sounded like something that I would enjoy so I decided to give it a try,” Scott said. “I really do enjoy it.”
She noted that people who live on Stadium Drive, the back campus road that is closest to the soccer field, are more exposed to the bustle of the University. “I think the people who live in those houses notice quite a bit of activity simply because of everything that goes on in the Activity Center and the soccer field,” Scott said.
However, people who live behind Stadium View aren’t affected much by campus activity. “Students have no reason to come back there. Sometimes people will jog or walk [there] but that happens fairly infrequently,” Scott said. “It’s not like we’re in a fishbowl.”
Kate Jones, a senior theater major at BJU, is the daughter of faculty and has lived in her current house on back campus for the past eight years. “In some ways, it’s kind of like living in the dorms because I’m right there,” Jones said. “I walk to and from my house all the time. My entire life takes place on campus so it’s nice to be here.”
Dr. Eric Newton moved onto campus 10 years ago when he accepted the position of Dean of Students. He now serves on the faculty of the seminary. He graduated from BJU in 2001 and has worked for the University ever since. “We really enjoy it,” Newton said. “Things are convenient, working on campus [and] living on campus. It’s a youth culture and it helps keep you young.”
Newton enjoys the convenience of living on campus, including being able to walk to work. “I don’t just mean time-wise but that it simplifies life,” Newton said. “You are able to connect with people you know, [and] it’s accessible for students to come over.”
A downside of living on campus for Newton is the lack of witnessing opportunities. “In one sense it’s really nice because you have good neighbors,” Newton said. “But in another sense, you don’t have the same kind of opportunities you would have in most neighborhoods to reach people with the Gospel.”
Retiree Gail Yost, who worked for the University for 33 years, also enjoys her neighbors. “Our neighbors are probably among our dearest friends. We have wonderful fellowship together,” Yost said. “[The] commonality is our salvation, our love of the University and the years we’ve been in the ministry. We love being on campus and we love the ministry of the school.”