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Christian Union
August 29, 2018

Freshman Campaigns Kick into High Gear

by Sarah Camp

The academic year is already underway at Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale. Classes begin at Brown, Columbia, and Harvard next week, and in two weeks at Princeton and Dartmouth. In late September, Stanford students will begin their classes. In the meantime, members of the Class of 2022 are arriving by the thousands—excited, nervous, and, in the first few weeks of college life, as open to Christian friendships as they may ever be.


In their first few weeks on campus, students are particularly open to making new connections, and as they form relationships and join student organizations they are setting the course for their social (and, by implication, their physical, emotional and spiritual) trajectory for the next four years. In anticipation of this window of opportunity, upperclassmen and Christian Union faculty have been preparing for the newly arriving students for months. They have prayed for freshmen by name and welcomed them personally through social media before they set foot on campus. Now they make themselves available as friends.

Christian Union’s ministry fellows and teams of upperclassmen are mobilizing to bring freshmen to ministry outreach events, in addition to taking them to lunch and offering support for the transition to college life. Last year, the number of events put on, across all campuses, was 161. Collectively, students and faculty spent thousands of hours on this outreach campaign.

Inviting freshmen into a Christian Union Bible course is one of the ways that the ministry helps students begin a journey of spiritual growth that will, God willing, continue throughout their undergraduate experience. The ministry anticipates that as many as 500 freshmen will sign up for a course this fall. Taking part in a Bible course provides something rare on these campuses: the opportunity to learn about Scripture in-depth each week, to bring questions, and share life with eight to ten peers and ministry faculty. For some who take part, this will be their first time opening a Bible. 

At Columbia, the ministry reports that they cooked up 1,051 pancakes Monday night and gave them out to curious students as a way to introduce them to the ministry. At Cornell, an estimated 70 students showed up for a midnight outreach event! 

Students and ministry faculty pour thoughtful attention into these efforts. For example, on Tuesday, students involved with the ministry at Yale prepared "welcome bags" for every freshmen suite and delivered them Thursday night. The bags were filled with cocoa mix, snacks, and a copy of the gospel of Luke for every single freshmen! The students also prepared bookmark invitations to upcoming Christian Union events, such as a ministry block party on Friday. The back of each bookmark featured a message/testimony from student leaders, sharing the essence of the Gospel and inviting each freshman to give careful consideration Jesus’s message.

And these are just a few of the many activities underway.

Thank you for praying for a rich harvest from the freshman campaign. It is a labor of love on the part of upperclassmen and faculty to provide food and friendship at all hours. Would you continue to pray they would have endurance and joy as they share the love of God? Ask God to satisfy their godly desire to care for and connect with incoming students; may He orchestrate many encounters, and embolden upperclassmen as they invite freshmen into Christian community.

Click here to learn more about our ministries on campus.
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