Trevecca grad named interim chief financial officer

By Audrey Yawn

An audit, a new food service provider, and two remodels; this summer presented a set of unique and pressing situations for Mariano Monzu to step into as the unverisity’s interim chief financial officer.

A close partner to former CFO, David Caldwell, Monzu was appointed as interim CFO by President Dan Boone at the end of June.

Caldwell served as the university’s chief financial officer for more than nine years.

Boone chose Monzu based on his familiarity with Caldwell’s work and experience, he said. “Summer is the time Trevecca does its audit,” said Boone. “You would never try to bring a new CFO into the beginning of an audit… Mariano has a backbone; you have to be able to say, ‘No, that’s not in the budget.’”

Monzu said it’s been an easy adjustment after seven years of working with Caldwell.

“[The job] is perfect and the reason why is I knew pretty much everyone I worked with,” he said. “I’m not new to it.”

For now, his title includes interim.

“I believe he would be a lead candidate if we put the job out there,” Boone said.

Monzu already has favorite parts of his job in the two months of being CFO.

“You get involved in so much and I love that. I like doing busy,” said Monzu. “You get busy pretty quick. You get pulled into different things. You get pulled into little things.”

There are less than desirable parts of the job for Monzu too.

“What I don’t like is I have a lot of meetings,” said Monzu. “You have a lot of stuff to do and not a lot of time to do it.”

Boone said Monzu is a great fit because he brings with him many of the same aspects that Caldwell applied to his work.

“[Monzu] is a phenomenal accountant… but most accountants are not good at financial strategy, and David Caldwell was very good at financial strategy,” said Boone. “We saw that Mariano had that same skill set.”

Monzu isn’t always focused on numbers and finances. He spends his free time playing soccer, which is what brought him to Trevecca when he was a college student.

“I played soccer here a long time ago,” said Monzu. “If you go to [Moore] you’ll see my picture in there.”

Boone also attests to his soccer abilities and how that opened up a chance for him to grow at Trevecca.

“The thing that I love most about him is that he came here to play soccer. While he was here his heart opened up to God and he began to see the value of deep Christian faith,” said Boone. “He still plays soccer a lot. He is an avid soccer player and fan.”

Monzu never thought about coming to work for Trevecca until the opportunity presented itself.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do [in college]. I wasn’t even planning on staying in the States. I wanted to travel, go to Europe. But two years became four and it just worked out,” said Monzu. “I went away for a while but I came back. I was looking for a challenge before the job came up.”

Overall, Boone said Monzu has been performing excellently in carrying out the vision of Trevecca and helping keep student costs to a minimum in the overseeing of financial plans.

“He is the primary strategist for getting money in the door,” said Boone. “He’s a very frugal person.”

For the duration of his time as CFO, Monzu is committed to keeping up the work of his predecessor.

“First I’m trying to learn the role,” said Monzu. “When you get into a new role you try to learn it. Pretty much I’m keeping up what David was working on.”

Boone said that’s exactly what he hoped for when he named Monzu interim CFO.

“One of the things I hope is that he is able to keep Trevecca on the path and trajectory that was under David Caldwell,” said Boone. “He’s performing excellently. I shudder to think where we would be without him.”

Trevecca welcomes new dining services director

By Naomi Overby

Matt Highley’s journey to the culinary world received its motivation to start at age 15 after he was told he wouldn’t make it.

At 19 years old, he was named the executive chef of Appleby’s Cafe & Wine Cellar.

“I love to cook. Love the chef life,” Highley said. “When I was 15, I worked at Sonic Drive-In. I remember saying ‘I want to try to be a chef one day’, and my manager told me ‘You’ll never be a chef.’ So, I left Sonic, got into a real restaurant and stayed there until I went to culinary school. All it took was someone telling me I wasn’t going to do it.”

Today, Highley is working to transform a new setting: Trevecca’s. Just last month, Highley began working as the new director of dining services under Chartwells, Trevecca’s first new food service provider in 45 years.

“Matt coming in, he’s got a plethora of experience he’s willing to offer between managerial experience and being a chef himself,” Logan Rodgers, assistant director of dining services said. “He’s got a servant leadership style. He just walks alongside people and wants to get involved in everything.”

Together with the Chartwells staff, Highley’s responsibility ranges from meetings, to planning and implementing new installments in the cafeteria to overseeing any food service location on campus. New additions to the cafeteria that students will begin to see are a direct result of Highley’s work.

Just before coming to campus, Highley worked as part of an operational excellence team, opening up new businesses for Compass Group USA across the nation, He applied for the job at Trevecca to be at home more with his wife and two daughters.

After receiving an associate of science from Sullivan University, a culinary arts school in Louisville, Ky., Highley has held other executive chef titles at fine dining private restaurants, and later stepping into thecorporate side of the culinary industry at 26-years-old.

Much like the kitchen, Highley’s schedule can be hectic and spontaneous. At any given time of the day, he could be throwing on a chef’s coat to lend the kitchen staff a hand, assisting in inputting time clock stamps when the system malfunctions, or printing labels for grab-and-go meals.

His typical day begins at 6 a.m. to greet vendors and team members coming in, and he spends the rest of his day rotating between the Cube, the Hub, the 1901 locations, the dining hall, and his office.

“He wants to be extremely involved. If there’s any opportunity for him to step in and do something, he will. He won’t delegate something that he could do himself,” said Katie Wreyford, manager of 1901. “That to me shows in all kinds of different moments. He sees the bigger picture of what service looks like.”

When he asks employees how they are, he checks the body language and demeanor of his employees, knowing he most likely won’t get an honest response, Highley says.

“I’ll hang out around here a little longer and wait for my moment to strike. I’ll catch them and say ‘You sure you’re alright?’ and they’ll say ‘No, I’m good’ and I’ll break the ice, like, ‘I didn’t catch you as a liar,” Highley said.

Highley’s transition into Trevecca was being mindful of the culture, adjusting to company values, and learning what’s important to Trevecca, he said. He had experience working as a senior executive chef at Belmont, so he was familiar with a university setting.

“That’s where I first got introduced into universities. I fell in love with it. Absolutely love the interaction with the students, the drive behind them, just the way they operate, the new generation. It’s a lot of fun,” said Highley.

Moving forward, the cafeteria will continue to see updates and changes. Highley already had employees remove the old ice cream cooler and is in the process of securing a soft-serve machine to replace it.

“I didn’t say anything. I did it on a Sunday, had my guys pull [the cooler] out. One day all of a sudden there’ll just be a big soft serve machine there,” said Highley. “That’s the way I roll. I quietly change the world.”

New company takes over dining on campus

By Maria Monteros

For almost half a century, Trevecca students have only known one food provider. But last month, a new catering company took over to redefine university dining.

Over the summer, the president’s cabinet voted on Chartwells Dining Services to provide food for Trevecca students over Hallmark Management Service, Inc. and 45-year partner Pioneer College Caterers.

Chartwells, a company under food service giant Compass USA, was chosen based on finances, quality and potential employment for student workers, said Trevecca President Dan Boone. Chartwells currently serves 280 campuses nationwide.

“I think it’s really important for us to have a food service provider that meets the modern college student’s needs,” said Jessica Dykes, associate vice president and dean of student development. “[Chartwells] have a different approach to dining on college campuses than our previous provider, whom we had a great partnership with, but they just weren’t able to keep up, I believe, with what our campus really needed moving forward.”

The university has been considering new caterers since fall last year after repeated complaints about the quality and lack of food options for vegetarians, students with allergies and commuters. Officials intended to finalize decisions before May graduation, but after hiring a consultant, they opted to review contract agreements causing the staff to adjust immediately to both the students and campus at the same time, Boone said.

Chartwells began reconstruction on Aug. 1— just a few weeks before classes started. It took only 12 days for the company to replace carpets, repaint and introduce a new menu.

“I’ll admit, this is a transition that I wish could have happened in May,” Boone said. “We would rather go with the right decision taking a little longer than make the wrong decision and have to turn around and do this all over again a year or two from now.”

Trevecca’s recent Form 990 listed Pioneer’s contract at $1.2 million. The TrevEchoes reached out to Mariano Monzu, Trevecca’s chief financial officer, to obtain the price of Chartwells’ contract but did not receive a response.

Boone says the company’s operations cost more than Pioneer’s.

“[Chartwells’] expense, it was a little ahead of where Pioneer’s had been,” said Boone. “We actually budgeted extra money this year to just basically get them in and let them give us a taste of what it is that they can do.”

The price of meal plans increased this year to $2,225 from $2,100 per semester last year for a full plan and $580 from $549 for commuter students, according to Trevecca’s “My Plan to Pay Worksheet.” The employee meal plan also hiked to $5 from $3 per meal.

“A lot of that does have to do with our fresh food. Produce and meats is one of the highest cost items out there. And with that, we have a lot more offerings,” said Matthew Highley, director of dining services. “Fortunately and unfortunately, we’re going into 2020 and the dollar menus have gone away.”

With a swipe of their IDs, a full plan this year could afford students four meals from either the cafeteria, The Hub, The Cube or 1901, a coffee shop on campus. Students say they were able to swipe their IDs as many times as they wanted last year.

Students can send feedback on the tablet located at the cafeteria, but some students prefer to share their comments to Marina Yousef, student body president, and Erica Wigart, sophomore class president, verbally.

“[Students] haven’t been sugarcoating it, they’ve been honest, they’ve been forward,” Yousef said.

Students often complained about long lines throughout every section of the cafeteria, said Wigart. A station in the cafeteria called “the demo line” has the longest wait because most of “the meat” was there, she says.

The staff distributes food items themselves during certain times of the day. Some students say they don’t receive the meal portions the want. Highley says it’s meant to foster interaction with students and staff.

Chartwells plans to use their first few months on campus to monitor the flow of traffic in the cafeteria.

“It’s important for students to realize that you’ve got to give them a little bit of a grace time,” said Wigart, who was a member of the food committee. “They’re still trying to understand the volumes that come in the caf at what times, what food people like.”

However, students have also noticed improvements in the quality and overall sanitation of the dining halls, said Yousef. Both Yousef and Wigart agree that Chartwells has offered more variety in food options— a common complaint from students in previous years.

Commuters can now use their meal plans during dinner times as opposed to only breakfast and lunch last year, says Yenin Echeverria, commuter council president. She says the dinner option motivates commuters to “spend all day on campus” and “have the college experience.”

Yousef, a commuter herself, enrolled on a meal plan for the first time this year.

“Students should know that student government is working on this right now,” said Yousef, adding that students can reach out to class representatives for feedback.

Trevecca’s initial plan was to better coordinate multiple eating venues, increase seating capacity and follow a “food court” concept for the cafeteria, says Boone. Architects from both Compass USA and Trevecca are working together to finalize plans for updates within the coming months.

Undergrad enrollment breaks record again

By Kayla Williamson

Traditional undergraduate student enrollment at Trevecca broke a record-again.

For the past six years traditional undergraduate student numbers have continued to break records. Last year, numbers increased by nearly 3%. This year, they increased by 5%.

This fall, 1,433 students enrolled at Trevecca. In fall of 2018 Trevecca had a total of 1,361 students.

“It’s one of those things where Trevecca has seen some dramatic growth over the last few years, and it’s something exciting to be around,” said Tom Middendorf, university provost.

Efforts are not stopping there. For the fall of 2020, the admissions team is looking for at least 400 for freshman enrollment, says Melinda Miller, executive director of undergraduate admissions. There were 392 Freshman undergraduate this year. They also plan to maintain the 85 transfer students from last year.

Having continuous growth is a positive challenge, Middendorf and Miller both agreed. While recruitment efforts bring and keep students in, it’s a challenge to make sure Trevecca’s infrastructure can hold everyone. Infrastructure ranges from housing, chapel, the cafeteria, classroom space and more.

“Having to be concerned about having on-campus housing space for all of our students is a wonderful challenge to have,” Miller said. “For a university like Trevecca, where nationwide universities similar to us are struggling to grow, we have grown so much that we filled our housing. That’s an amazing challenge to be faced with.”

Middendorf and Miller said there are three main reasons why students keep coming to Trevecca: A strong sense of community, being in the heart of Nashville, and a nurturing team of professors, faculty and staff.

“I think we’ve got wonderful human beings as our faculty, our staff, our administration,” Middendorf said. “There’s something enticing about coming to an institution where it’s hospitable and you have this sense of belonging.”

The marketing team has also played a major part in recruiting students, Miller says. Their emphasis on Nashville being a huge city, and Trevecca being a small community, is part of the appeal for some students, she says.

“We have an amazing marketing team, and our marketing team works together with our enrollment team to really showcase Trevecca as a university,” Miller said. “One of the main things we focus on is the fact that Trevecca is in Nashville, literally one mile from downtown.”

The Trevecca community, which Middendorf said is unique and unapologetically Christian, is another reason that students come to the university. Students, he says, don’t just want an impact on the mind, but they also want to be focused on individually and holistically.

“I do think there’s a real interest in that,” Middendorf said. “They want something authentic and real. They want to be more than a number, and they want to get more than just a piece of paper to use to get a job one day. I think they want to be impacted as whole individuals.”

As for now, Middendorf said he and his team are making plans to expand Trevecca’s growth. More information will be available in the future.

“There are conversations right now about future building projects,” Middendorf said. “We are discussing some exciting future opportunities for Trevecca along this line.”


Town hall monthly meetings set to return to campus this fall

By Marcela Castro Carias

SGA will be hosting town hall meetings again this year, beginning Oct. 16.

“Town hall meetings are an opportunity for students to ask questions to administrators or other key people on campus, and also give administrators the opportunity to give word out of different things that are going on,” said Matthew Spraker, associate dean of students.

The reestablishment of the town hall meetings was a completely “student led initiative” by the SGA board, All Student Body President Marina Yousef and Vice President Stephanie Ordóñez, Spraker said.

“It’s hard for us [students] to get a grasp and understanding of what’s really happening when we don’t have communication to the people up top,” Marina Yousef said.

Yousef hopes the meetings will create transparency and “an opportunity to just ask [administrators] instead of being worried about something. To ask about what’s happening, why it’s happening and what will happen.”

“What I hope to achieve is people feeling like their voice is heard on campus. I hope that they see that their needs are being met and concerns heard,” Yousef said. “I hope people feel the transparency. We are a community that’s open and loving… We’re just here to serve.”

SGA will choose a monthly theme based on what is going on at the time and what people are the most interested, curious or concerned about.

The meetings will be in the lobby of Jernigan Student Center one Wednesday of every month from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Yousef wanted a place where there is a high flow of people that could see the meetings and stay if they had questions. Students can come and go as they wish but are highly encouraged to stay for the whole event.

“Trevecca hosted these for decades throughout the years, [this year and last year’s] SGA decided to have a monthly meeting where students can keep open channels of communication with administration,” Spraker said.

Dinner will be provided for commuters who stay during the meeting through to campus events.

“We partnered up with Zack Church and he’s creating an event every time there’s a town hall meeting so there’s not only one reason for them to stay. If he cannot make any event at that time, we’re going to cover the cost for commuters to eat at the caf,” Yousef said.

SGA and faculty have come together for the creation of this monthly event and have high hopes concerning results.

“What I hope to achieve is people feeling like their voice is heard in campus, I hope that they see that their needs are being met and concerns heard,” Yousef said. “I hope people feel the transparency. We are a community that’s open and loving… We’re just here to serve.”

town hall meeting document

Graphic by Naomi Overby

Spiritual Deepening Week Starts Today

By Lily Russell

Trevecca’s new chaplain, Erik Gernand, is hosting this year’s spiritual deepening week on Sept. 16-19.

“Spiritual Deepening week is a time to intentionally set some time aside, and in the midst of our busy schedule, turn our attention and hearts to God and give God some extra space in our life to do some things that we may not always have time or attention to lean into,” Gernand said.

The theme for this year is “In the Name of Jesus”. According to Gernand, the theme was inspired by Colossians 3:17 and Philippians 2:5-11.

With professors being encouraged to limit tests and large assignments, spiritual deepening week has become a staple in Trevecca’s schedule.

“We want to create a space for God to do significant work. …Trevecca’s about the holistic development of our students,” Gernand said.

Referring to Spiritual Deepening week as an “old school revival,” Gernand said it is an important time in the school year for all students and community members of Trevecca.

Stephanie Hansen, all student body chaplain, said she is looking forward to Gernand’s first time hosting spiritual deepening week.

“Erik and his wife Ashley have just been so involved with students and their spiritual life,” Stephanie Hansen said. “You can go into the cafeteria and Erik will sit and talk with you.”

Gernand said he hopes the week will be a time for all to empty themselves and let God enter in. He also hopes the week will help students build “a love for Jesus and a desire to have the shape of our life be in harmony with his.”

He is looking forward to sharing his message.

“Every chance I get I like talking about Jesus,” Gernand said.

Spiritual deepening week schedule:

Monday 6 p.m.

Tuesday 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Thursday 9:30 a.m.

More facilities needed for more athletes

By Kallie Sohm

 With the announcement that Trevecca officials want to add up to 150 more athletes comes the question of how the campus will accommodate them with adequate practice and competition facilities.

“The number one obstacle to this [adding one or two junior varsity teams and club sports each year] is our current gymnasium,” said Dan Boone, university president.

Boone said there is a plan for expanding and improving Moore Gymnasium, but there are currently no funds or donors for the approximately $12 million project. Continue reading More facilities needed for more athletes

SAAC president works overtime

By Miriam Kirk

Adi Hale, a senior majoring in social work, came to Trevecca because she had the opportunity to play basketball and be the first in her family to earn a college degree. She didn’t think she would become the president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the first African American president at that.

“I’m honored to be the first African American president of SAAC. With Trevecca making this push to be inclusive of all ethnicities I feel that it’s accurate that we have an African American leading the SAAC committee,” Hale said. Continue reading SAAC president works overtime

New University Chaplain selected

By Brooklyn Dance

Trevecca’s new chaplain will come to campus with 17 years of experience as a church pastor and a desire to minister to college aged students.

Erick Gernand, currently the pastor of Real Life Community Church of the Nazarene in Murfreesboro, will be Trevecca’s new chaplain.

“Ashley and I have spent quite a bit of our ministry working with young adults and college students, so we’ll be with an age group and season of life that we love. I love the kinds of questions and exploration of faith that generally happens in these years,” he said. Continue reading New University Chaplain selected

Trevecca considering new food providers

By Matthew Parris

After 45 years of service, Trevecca is reevaluating its contract with Pioneer College Caterers, and hopes to decide before graduation whether it will continue with them or choose a new provider.

“Pioneer, when they first came in, it was a new opportunity for Trevecca,” said David Caldwell, executive vice president for administration and finance. “I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that over the years, they have provided a lot of benefits to the school. I just think that now, with student tastes and expectations changing, it makes sense to see what options are out there.” Continue reading Trevecca considering new food providers