Religion supplements academics, social life for college
Religion supplements academics, social life for college
Religion supplements academics,social life for college
studentsStephanie ArmourStaff ReporterIn high school, school spirit
means pep rallies, pom pons and cheers.
In college, school spirit often means religion.
For most University students, there's more to college than
classes. Many students today also look to integrate their academic
studies with religion.
More than 40 religious organizations reside on campus and most
share a common theme of spreading religious teaching and supporting
Helping students develop an identity away from home is one of the
goals of the Campus Christian Fellowship, said Jack Nicolay, campus
minister. The organization, founded in 1972, currently ministers to
about 30 Christian students.
"We give students a different view besides just academics,"
Nicolay said. "We do service programs for the community, like working
with food shelves. Next year we're looking at going to Haiti to work
on an orphanage."
The organization, sponsored by the South East Christian Church,
is primarily directed by students, Nicolay said. Students organize
small group discussions on everything from money to sexuality.
Sessions from a Christian point of view are also the objective of
Campus Crusade for Christ, said Greg Chenoweth, Campus Director.
The local chapter, a Christian organization founded in 1951, is
part of the national organization that can be found on more than 400
campuses and in 171 countries.
"Students come away gathering new friends and encouragement in
developing relationships with God," Chenoweth said.
Activities planned by the Crusade include weekly meetings, small
group bible studies, and programs in residence halls and
fraternities, Chenoweth said. About 120 students are currently
Students participating in the organization said they have learned
how to share their faith and strengthen their relationship with God.
"The reason I'm still involved with the Crusade is that it's
interdenominational," said Dan Barbeau, a senior in the College of
Biological Sciences. "It doesn't take stands on a lot of doctrines.
It's just basic Christian teaching."
Dawn Peterson, a senior in home economics who attends Campus
Crusade events, said the program has had a strong impact in helping
her determine who she is.
"I've gotten good lifetime friends, leadership skills, and
learned a lot about who I am and who God is."
Discovering God and the unity of religion are two of the goals of
the Bahai Association, said John Berry, a junior with the Institute
of Technology. Bahai, which originated in Persia, is a relatively
young religion that teaches unity of mankind, religion, God and
"All of us are from one God," Berry said. "Religion is evolving
just like man."
About 25 people are involved with the Baha'i Association, but
Berry said some have been reluctant to try something new.
"It's a new religion and a new concept and everyone is not
usually ready to say I believe it right away," Berry said.
Another one of the newer religious organizations on campus is
Children of The Night. The organization, which was founded on campus
10 years ago, is a pagan study forum and outreach group, said Susan
"We are not satanists," MarienReligion9Religion3said. "We stay
away. satanists worship the Christian devil and we worship the
Paganism, which dates back to 2,000 B.C., involves the study of
witchcraft, Druism, and Shamanism, Marien said. The organization has
about 10 members, and occasionally carries out Shabbat rituals.
"A lot of us go out to parks, celebrate, and cast our circles,"
Marien said. "There are different gods and goddesses and sometimes we
Another religious organization on campus is Buddhism Nichiren
Shoshu of America. The student organization, founded in the 1970s,
currently has 20 members, said Howard Dunlavey, Minneapolis
Headquarters leader. The Twin Cities branch has about 1,100 members.
The purpose of the organization is to attain individual happiness
and world peace through the practice of Buddhism, Dunlavey said.
"We can achieve world peace through each individual person
becoming happy," he said.
The student group has an information booth in Coffman Memorial
Union, and weekly discussion meetings that are open to the public.
The Eastern Orthodox Fellowship, a student organization with
about 40 members, also conducts open discussion meetings on both
religious and contemporary issues.
The Fellowship is an opportunity for people of Eastern Orthodox
faith to socialize and to learn, said Dan Glumac, president and IT
"Discussion topics have included Evangelism in the 20th century,
the sexual revolution, and abortion," Glumac said.
Forum discussions on similar topics are also sponsored by the
Baptist Student Union, a liberal church that started in 1850, said
the Rev. Lee Freeman. The church has various programs, including
worship services, choir, music, and social events.
"We show that people can use their brains and intelligence and
still have faith," Freeman said. "We're open to a diversity of
A mixture of people and religious programming is the purpose
behind the B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation, explained Rabbi Irvin
Wise. The foundation, a part of the national organization, sponsors
programs including dances, parties, cultural discussions, on campus
exhibits and conferences.
"We serve as a bridge if the community is looking for information
from the University," Wise said. "We also monitor what's going on on
campus in terms of anti Semitism and anti Israeli activity."
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