As a freshman, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the many extracurricular opportunities our campus has to offer. For some, the most intimidating building on campus is the one whose goal is to be the most welcoming: Campus Ministry. The old stone Wolfington house next to the chapel, for some, is a building they will never enter. For others on campus, it is a home.
One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding Campus Ministry is that it is only for those on campus who are “deeply religious.” The community and staff inside Wolfington are a resource that all students should feel comfortable taking advantage of. No matter your religion or where you are on your faith journey, Wolfington welcomes all students. The community opens its arms to you and accepts you exactly as you are. This foundation of acceptance partners with a desire for knowledge and growth. The hope is that each time you enter the building, you learn something that helps you grow. Whether you find yourself exploring your faith, talking to a campus minister about your on-campus life, or just enjoying the community and free snacks, you will find yourself drawn to go back for more.
As a freshman, I was one of the many who did not go into Wolfington because I felt intimidated. Now, entering my second semester of junior year, I regret waiting until I was halfway through college to utilize Campus Ministry. My participation in the Winter Immersion Program as a sophomore and my role as a Peer Minister for WIP this year helped me to see all that Campus Ministry has to offer. I have been able to see the acceptance and support that exists within Wolfington, support that I hope my peers are able to experience during their four years at SJU.
The entire staff operates on an open-door policy, where you can almost always walk into someone’s office and be greeted with a smile and warm welcome. The faculty wants to know you as a person. Through building relationships with a diverse group of students, they work to learn how they can best serve the campus community. The job of the campus ministers is not to convert you, but to walk alongside you in whatever you need throughout your four years of college. They are a source of support and comfort whether it is about school, relationships, missing home, or anything in between.
Another resource that can be found in Wolfington is the community created among the students. Students come to Wolfington between classes or before meetings to relax, unwind, and spend time together. You will encounter people you would not normally meet and find yourself creating a community with students who support you and accept you for who you are. The diversity of thought and interest among students who spend time in Wolfington is what makes the community special. The only requirement to be a part of the community is authenticity. Those you meet will challenge your thoughts and encourage you to grow into your best self.
If you have a break in your class schedule or arrive to campus early for a meeting, take that free moment to explore Wolfington. As you enter Campus Ministry, you will instantly feel the support and community that will bring you back for more.
-Kara Evans, ’20