The folks on campus who might come closest to understanding collegiate ministry are the student affairs / student life professionals. They, too, love students, want them to have rich and helpful experiences and develop a meaningful life. Their importance and impact are also devalued by the community. The first weeks of school are even crazier for them than for collegiate ministers!
So now would be a good time to stop by their office with some goodies and a thank you note for what they are trying to do in the lives of our college students. And sometime, after the dust settles, find some time to meet with a few of the staffers to build relationships.
If they know you are supportive of their efforts and that you are concerned about all students ( not just Presbyterians), and you're not going to coercion or badger non-Christians, they may begin to think of you as a referral resource. The activities directors can commiserate over planning events when few people show up, and the disconnect between students who say they are attending and never appear. Perhaps you know artists which would appeal to student populations not on the student activities committee's radars.
Most campuses now have crisis plans developed. Are you a resource for them?
Jennifer Martin, at the Koinonia House at the University of Oregon, reminded me of good information to share with student affairs folks. Recent studies, such as from Christian Smith at the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) , the Higher Education Resource Institute, and the Fuller Seminary College Transitions Program, indicate that the more the religious involvement of the student, the less likely they are to binge drink or to be "loners". Helping reduce those two campus cohorts will get the attention of the student life professionals! Perhaps you could offer to do an information session for the staff later in the year.
Are you routinely praying for the student affairs / student life staff? Do they know that?
Workshop Leader Bios - Katie Gordon is the Program Manager of the Kaufman Interfaith Institute and Coordinator for Campus Interfaith Resources within the Division of Inclusion & ...
2 weeks ago