Sydney Hencil, an international student from Zimbabwe, excited to be back on campus after the summer break.
Sydney Hencil, an international student from Zimbabwe, excited to be back on campus after the summer break.

Brenau University: A World Away But A Home Away from Home

Oct 27, 2020
Sydney Hencil

One of the first things I did after moving into the dorms my freshman year, was rush over to the Owens Student Center to take a picture under all the flags.  By the entrance of this building, which is home to classrooms and Student Services, giant flags from different countries hang proudly.  I was shocked but felt giddy inside seeing my flag up there, I felt special. 

Competition Dance Team 2019-2020
Competition Dance Team 2019-2020

I originally came to Brenau as a Rotary Scholar –  a one year cultural program hosted by the Rotary Clubs in the state of Georgia – but by fall break, I knew this was the place I wanted to continue my education.  Within the first week, I had already joined the competition dance team and gained a group of sisters.  And through those sisters on the dance team, they encouraged me to join other clubs and organizations where I was quickly found my place at Brenau, a whole ocean away from home.

Brenau boasts being a community based campus.  There is even a saying that goes around here, “It is very hard NOT to get involved.”  As attested to by Haley Bartoletta, a junior Mass Communication major and Political Science minor, she said that coming to Brenau was one of the best decisions she made in her life. “The best thing about Brenau is that there is a place inside the community for everybody. I surely found mine!” she said.  Haley, who is also on the student government said that the community reminded her of a small town.  “Everyone knows everyone, you just feel comfortable,” she said.

But what makes this place so special?  Brenau means “Gold Refined by Fire” and is a testament to the men and women who graduate from this college.  Founded in 1878 as Women’s College and now a comprehensive university, Brenau has prepared students to go out into the world as business leaders, certified teachers, expert scientists, health care practitioners, talented musicians, theater professionals, interior designers and so much more.  Charlene Hendricks, WC ‘20, is currently working at J.MC Events full time after receiving her BA in Mass Communication.  She is currently enrolled in Brenau’s graduate school and working toward a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership.

The Mass Communication Department at the Campus Movie Festival premiere 2019

The class sizes are at a ratio of 1:11 which allows for a more one on one setting and the professors have an open door policy.  Christina Hogg, a senior nursing major, specifically loves the leadership opportunities at Brenau.  “I am more of a background leader, and yet, they still recognized my quality,” she said.  She has been able to be in leadership roles since her freshman year.  Alexis Anderson, a junior Mass Communication major, specifically chose to come to Brenau because she felt like no matter who you are, you would feel like you belong.  “From the moment I walked onto campus I felt a sense of home,” she said.  She knew instantly that Brenau would be a part of her for the rest of her life – it was more than just about earning a degree.

Grace Hooten Moore Memorial Fountain on the front lawn.
Grace Hooten Moore Memorial Fountain on the front lawn.

Something that always takes my breath away and makes me feel like I am in a whole new world, is the school’s beautiful architecture.  This place makes me feel like I am in a fairytale; it is so beautiful.  I have lived in Europe and have always loved the historic feel.  Even now, three years in, I still have my breath taken away by the beautiful architecture of the historic Gainesville campus.  Along with the beautiful architecture, the campus is always filled with people who will smile and greet you – even without knowing who you are.  That is the feeling here on campus.  It is one big community, that makes you feel at home no matter who you are, where you come from or what you study.  There is a home here for you at Brenau University.