College offers students various opportunities of involvement; some find their place in registered student organizations, others join sports teams, and some attend parties.
Still, some find that those things aren’t enough.
“Typically students at this stage of their life are seeking avenues to find meaning and purpose, especially as it relates to enhancing self-understanding, preparing for healthy citizenship, answering life’s big questions, and finding calm and centeredness in times of stress,” said Dean of Student Life Leroy Wright.
To address this, Ferris will be hosting its first ever Spiritual Exploration Fair, Sept. 9 from 11-2 p.m. in the Rankin Student Center. Various faith based RSOs and local spiritual centers will have informational tables to encourage students to explore their options.
“This experience, we believe, will continue to meet Ferris’ commitment to diversity and inclusion by promoting a community that is caring and compassionate and even more humane. As Alexander and Helen Astin (student development researchers) suggest in their research for the book “Cultivating the Spirit – How College Can Enhance Students’ Inner Lives,” spiritual development can have an impact on academic achievement, satisfaction with college, psychological well-being, leadership self-concept, and promoting racial understanding,” said Wright.
“Some students may not feel as they need, or want to have, any spiritual connection, and that’s fine, but, we also have a large group of students that do. Luckily, the university is always trying to expand and accommodate every student’s spiritual beliefs,” said Nicholas Campau, Coordinator of Student Life.
Some of the organizations attending include Christian Pharmacist Fellowship (CPF), His House Christian Fellowship, Lyrical Praise Gospel Choir, Muslim Student Organization, Newman Center for Catholic Students, Pagan Alliance, Victory 4 U, and Wesley House.
Wesley House Vice President Chelsea Treglia said of her experience, “Welsey House provides so many opportunities throughout the year, from volunteering to old fashioned game nights. I don’t go out and drink and party—what some people may call the typical college experience. I have just as much fun sitting around the table sober playing board games and bonding with my wonderful Wesley family. I wouldn’t give that up for anything.”
Derek Weidman, vice president of CPF, finds that his faith involvement not only helps his spiritual growth, but also gives him fellowship and support in all areas of life.
“With CPF, everyone has their faith in common, but we also can relate with the stresses of pharmacy school. We encourage each other and know that whenever something is going on in our lives, there will be others to help, pray, and support. Being part of a religious organization has allowed me to see a lot of spiritual growth. It’s a great feeling when you can find peace and rest even in the stress of school and life knowing that God is in control,” said Weidman.
Kyle Mead, president of Lutheran Student Fellowship, agreed that getting involved with a supportive spiritual group can ease the transition from home to college.
“It’s a great way to get involved, meet new people, and have a good time. It allows you to stay connected to your religious roots after you leave the comfort of your hometown and home church,” said Mead.
Many organizations have volunteer opportunities as well.
“I have gotten to go on two mission trips to New Orleans to help with Hurricane Katrina relief. This year I am going on one to Joplin to help with clean up after the tornado. It really shows how much we take the things that we have for granted,” said Mead.
“Healthy spiritual involvement can teach discipline, self-confidence, and give people a sense of purpose and belonging. As president of Victory 4U Campus Ministries, I have had the opportunity to meet all kinds of people and grow to have a sincere love for my organization and the campus as a whole,” said Jessica Robinson.
The fair is open to all students, from those who have a solid faith in something to those who have never been involved spiritually.
“Even if someone does not consider themselves spiritual right now, but is interested, I’m sure every organization would be welcoming and more than happy to help and encourage them in their search for truth,” said Weidman.
For more information, contact Campau at NicholasCampau@nullferris.edu