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Resource CenterLifestyle Guidelines

the best you, the best mvnu

It's a big responsibility to live in community.

We believe that some of the best learning, growth, and development our students experience during their time at MVNU is due to our intentional pursuit of life in community. As a community, each of us — students, faculty, and staff — agree to live under a common set of beliefs and values that reflect our educational mission, our commitment to service, and our unity in Christ. These lifestyle guidelines serve as a roadmap that sets us up for success as a community. Their purpose is to help us all to bring out the best in each other and ourselves, and ultimately produce the Christ-like character toward which we strive.

How you answer this question determines the real worth of the lifestyle guidelines at MVNU. It comes down to something very personal. Who you are. Why you’re here. Whether or not you are able to live within a community based on honesty and respect. How you’re going to allow the best parts of yourself to shine forth.

The kind of person you are when no one else is looking — this is the real stuff you give over to God so that He can mold and shape you into your best potential. The process begins with your new birth in Christ and it will continue after you leave MVNU — for the rest of your life.

The immediate and most obvious purpose for lifestyle guidelines is to provide a common code of conduct within the campus community. These guidelines, established for everyone on campus, student and professor, staff and administrators, are a rationale for desirable behavior and attitudes. While the code isn’t so strict that it controls every detail of life on campus, neither is it so loose that it promotes a spirit of “Anything goes!”

But there’s much more at stake here than a general attempt to create community on campus and keep it functioning smoothly. MVNU’s lifestyle guidelines have value far beyond a few years spent on campus, because they are values that build Christ-like character and are pleasing to God. People on the outside, looking in, should glimpse the promise of a more pure, more selfless lifestyle that brings honor to the Lord Jesus Christ. Additionally, MVNU’s guidelines reveal the University’s strong relationship with its sponsoring denomination, the Church of the Nazarene.

The Apostle Paul likens the Christian life to a race. In Hebrews 12 he urges us to lay aside the weights and sin that could slow us down or hold us back and to run with perseverance the race that God sets before us. In I Corinthians 9 and Philippians 3 he tells us to compete to win. Becoming more Christ-like in character will involve discipline, endurance and a winning spirit.

So at MVNU we set lifestyle guidelines not only to enhance community, but to develop Christ-like character and to live in a style that honors God.

The simple answer is no. Our guidelines are meant to be practical solutions for the differences among us for the time that we are together, as well as idealized standards for the development of good habits and character. We do not consider them to be a judgment on other Christians, nor are we foolish enough to believe that our way is perfect. However, our guidelines do represent what we’ve found to be the most workable and suitable in fulfilling our University mission.

What we do expect is that we in the campus community live by the guidelines during our association with MVNU, even if we don’t necessarily agree with them, privately or personally. We ask for an understanding of the need for standards, a good spirit in keeping them, and cooperative efforts in improving them. We do encourage students to discuss and evaluate the University standards as part of the growth process that should be taking place on campus.

The guidelines are not legalistic boundaries, snares to catch the rebellious, or showcases to portray the pious, but rather an endeavor to do the right thing, to be motivated by God’s unfailing and unselfish love, and to consider the larger picture — that what we do and how we do it affects other people as well as ourselves.

You have a big job ahead in your University years. We urge you to seriously consider what kind of person you are and would like to be, and what actions you will take toward becoming the best you that you can be.

We also hope to help you begin preparing for the day when you will live by your own, chosen standards. After you leave MVNU, no one here will be telling you how to live. It will be up to you. We hope that you will make the kind of choices that honor God and make the world a brighter place.

First, and most important, is honesty. MVNU sets a standard of honesty among all of its community members. Without that commitment to the truth, the University simply cannot function. It’s sad that we have to spell it out, but the world we live in doesn’t value truth-telling the way that it should. It seems like the rule of the day is, “If you can do it and not get caught, it’s OK.” Unfortunately, many of us have been polluted by that kind of thinking.

Are you ready to dedicate yourself to personal honesty? We hope so! It starts with being honest with yourself, and then with all of us around you.

We don’t expect you to be perfect at MVNU, but we do expect you to do your best to abstain from and be truthful with us regarding:

  • consuming, trafficking in, or being in the presence of alcoholic beverages,
  • personal misconduct, including sexual promiscuity and harassment,
  • using tobacco in any form,
  • misuse of drugs or use of illegal drugs,
  • participating in inappropriate entertainment forms, including patronizing clubs, gambling, involvement with pornography or any form of promiscuous entertainment.

This code of honesty means that I will remove myself from the University community if I cannot comply with these standards.

Some of these activities are dealt with in Scripture. Others are against the law. Still others are “social standards” that are supported by our primary University constituency, the Church of the Nazarene. Our community at MVNU consists of many different kinds of people: age, denomination, spiritual maturity, home area, ethnic background—we have almost all shapes, sizes and varieties. It’s a great feature of MVNU, but with the variety comes different personal convictions.

Decisions about entertainment and media productions offer good examples. MVNU supports the church’s values by banning promiscuous, pornographic entertainment, striving to build character, unity, peace, and holy lifestyles in the community.

What about alcoholic beverages? MVNU upholds the principle that alcohol use is detrimental to physical, emotional, social, spiritual and community development. Therefore, a decision to drink alcohol is a decision which requires serious disciplinary response.

Because these are mission and character related, we request that you do not participate in them on or off campus, as long as you are part of the University as a student or employee.

Alumni tell us that they look back on Chapel as the best time of the campus day. Many of us regard Chapel as a welcome oasis in the midst of a busy day. In most weeks, three sessions per week are set aside for Chapel and each student is required to attend. We don’t consider Chapel a substitute for church attendance or personal devotions. It’s a special feature of a Christian University education.

For those of you who live on campus, we have several living standards for resident life. Almost every one of them is meant to protect the rights of all resident students. With more than 1,000 people living in close quarters, some rules are needed to promote community life.

We limit the days and hours that persons of the opposite sex can visit in student rooms.

We have regular room inspections. There are also quiet hours for sleep and study. To promote good study and living habits, students are required to be in their own resident living area by a certain hour each night.

We know that residence life can be the most memorable part of University life and we look forward to your positive participation in this element of your lifelong education.

You will be held accountable for your actions when University guidelines are broken. Some campus privileges may be taken away for a period of time. You may be required to meet regularly with a counselor, staff person, or small group of students for growth and encouragement. You may have to pay a fine. When a student violates mission-related policies (see Student Life Handbook), suspension or dismissal may result.

Remember, we see discipline as a way to help you grow. Sometimes the best thing that could happen to you is for you to be held accountable for your actions, even though it may sting for awhile. It teaches responsibility and builds Christ-like character; something we all need (Proverbs 3:11, 12; Hebrews 12:10, 11).

If you have questions about a disciplinary action, you can always talk to one of the Student Development staff members about it. We will be careful to handle the matter privately and with respect for your individual rights.

The Student Development staff are also available to answer your questions, give counsel when you ask for it, and pray with you about any area of your life at any time.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or handicap.

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“MVNU gave me the freedom to explore and ask questions, as well as the structure I needed to prepare for the rest of my life.”

Brooklyn Lindsey, '01