The difficulty of being a religious student on campus

Trabant ChapelKirk Smith/THE REVIEW
Students talk about what it’s been like to be a member of a religion, and the transition from home to campus.

Managing Mosaic Editor

For many students, the transition to living on a college campus can be a struggle. Meeting new people, sharing a room, going to classes and balancing everything that needs to be done can be stressful for any student, but there are those who balance just one more thing on top of that — being part of a religion.

All over campus, there are over 20 religious groups and organizations. They even have their own tab on Student Central and many different houses across the campus community, so people can stop by and learn more about the different affiliations.

For some students, being religious at the university is very difficult. Chase Meadows, a senior who identifies as Muslim, talked about some of the ways in which the university has been helpful, and some ways in which it has been very difficult.

“The nearest mosques — buildings of worship, are 15 minutes away, but the school has worked with the Muslim students to allow us to have the ability to pray together on campus,” Meadows says.

He adds that in the library, there is a room dedicated to prayer, and the new restrooms in Perkins Student Center have added foot baths so that it is easier for Muslim students to clean before they pray. However, he says the social aspect has been difficult.

“I feel as though some people want to make assumptions about Muslim students because they don’t know too much, so they might believe whatever they see or hear,” Meadows says.

There are several registered student organizations (RSOs) on campus that exist to help religious students. Some of the more well-known ones include the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and Blue Hens for Christ (BHC).

Jordan Shuff, a junior biomedical engineering student who identifies as Christian, is a member of BHC. She says that before college, her family was somewhat religious, but the campus community has actually been greatly beneficial to her faith.

“I wouldn’t say I was raised in a strictly Christian home,” Shuff says. “But when I came to college, I was trying to get involved and find my place, and I found a girl who introduced me to BHC.”

From there, she says, she evaluated her life, and learned that there were discrepancies between how she ought to be living and how she really was living.

“I started seeking and reading about the science about Christianity,” Shuff says. “Everything I’ve learned has taught me that Christianity is true and since then it’s actually been weird going home because I am a stronger Christian than my parents.”

Another student in BHC, Cheng Sun, is an international student who was not part of any religion before coming to the university.

“It was like a blessing,” Sun says about finding Christianity. “At home, back in China, my family didn’t have any religious belief and the environment there is much more different, as many people there are atheists.”

All in all, Sun says that he has found his home in BHC, and he’s proud to be a part of such an organization. When considering that college is a very different atmosphere than living at home, it’s important to note the different outlooks students have concerning the availability of religious RSOs.

“Here in America, so many people have faith,” Sun says. “It impacts me, their passion, their love for people, which is really great. I’ve been taken in and have learned to give out.”

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