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Christian Union: The Magazine
November 12, 2021

CU Lumine Introduces Student Leaders Via Social Media

By Tom Campisi, Managing Editor

Prior to hosting its Freshman Welcoming Campaign this fall, CU Lumine embarked on a social media campaign that introduced first-year students to the ministry and gave them practical wisdom and biblical insight before they even arrived on campus.

Over the summer, CU Lumine leaders posted various student spotlight profiles on Instagram and Facebook that featured a brief question and answer format. Students introduced themselves by writing about what they did over the summer—from internships to summer classes to YouTube binging—and then answered questions regarding dorm essentials, favorite places to eat in New York City, classes taken at Columbia, things they wished they knew as freshmen, and favorite Bible verses.

1 Lumine AhiraAhira Castillo ’22 welcomed freshmen with a smile on CU Lumine's social media posts.CU Lumine also added Columbia’s hashtag with each profile so that when students searched for the hashtag, they would see the posts and learn more about Christian Union. 

“We wanted to welcome incoming freshmen and sophomores as this would be their first time on campus since Covid lockdowns,” said Stan Thomas, Christian Union’s ministry director at Columbia. “We wanted the incoming students to know the faces and names of CU Lumine students who would be welcoming them to the campus.”

Thomas was also featured in one of the profiles and offered this advice to new students: “Don’t do college alone! Make sure you find friends and are a part of a good, Christian community. The friendships you build now will be with you for the rest of your life!”

Ana Ratanaphrunks ’24 wrote about her love for “exploring the city and trying new foods” and how she found community with CU Lumine last year as a freshman via zoom.

“It was weird to be on zoom, but I really enjoyed Stan Thomas’ style of teaching and all of the students made me feel very welcomed,” she said. “I made some great friends that I’m now living with in a housing group. Christian Union has been a great place to grow in Christ and find close friends.”

1 Lumine AnaAna Ratanaphrunks ’24 (Facebook)Ahira Castillo ’22, noted some of her favorite CU Lumine ministry moments, recalling “Girls Night from sophomore year as well as every impromptu game night.” She was excited about discovering Buffalo Wild Wings at the ministry center during an event.

As far as advice for incoming first-year students, Timothy Kinnamon ’23 wrote, “Spend time doing things you can only do as an undergraduate: extracurriculars are a blessing, even if you have no free time. Delight in the good things you can do and trust God to work out the details (of course, also be reasonable about your commitments—a failure to fulfill your obligations is not virtuous).”

Ayomide Tikare ’23 warned them about the pressure “to always be DOING at Columbia.” “Someone will always be doing more than you, so don’t compare yourself to other people,” she said. “Be honest with yourself about what you can handle, and remember that just because you CAN do something, it doesn’t mean you have to do it! Listen to yourself and what you really want.”

Some students in the spotlight were asked about their favorite academic courses at Columbia. Ratanaphrunks cited the course, Nuclear Weapon and Nuclear Testing: The Marshall Islands.

“It covered the history of the American atomic bomb, how it was tested on the Marshall Islands, and how it affected the natives of the Marshall Islands,” she wrote. “Not only was it interesting, but it was a very important and eye-opening lesson…The professor was very enthusiastic to teach and invited super cool guest speakers.”

Bethel Adiele ’23 pointed to Comparative Literature and Society, which includes some books of the Old Testament.

“This class taught me a lot about the complicated relationship between a written text, the reader and the author,” Adiele said. “It has also impacted how I see my relationship with the Bible as a literary, Spirit-inspired text!”

Favorite Bible verses or Bible books were also highlighted. That is hardly surprising, considering how weekly Bible courses and studying God’s Word are foundational staples with Christian Union Lumine—many of the students who were welcomed with the ministry’s Freshman Welcoming Campaign are now enrolled in Bible courses.

Ayomide Tikare ’23 cited John 15:4-5 as her favorite verse: “This scripture has always stuck with me because of how pretty it sounds and its imagery, but on the real — I can’t do anything good or fruitful without Jesus Christ and John 15:4-5 is a reminder of that and more. Abideeee in Him!”

Athena Sternklar ’22 wrote about having a few go-to scriptures: “I've been gravitating to Mark 8:36 where Jesus asks, ‘For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?’ Amidst life’s countless distractions, this rhetorical question posed by our Lord and Savior always helps me to realign my focus.”

Jaida Green ’23 let first-year students know about the comfort found in Psalm 34:18 ("The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.")

“It's not only a beautiful verse, especially to comfort you when you are upset; I also think it speaks so much to the heart of God and it always reminds me of the everyday and intimate reality of God's heart for us and that he wants to comfort us through trials, we just need to let him.”

1 Cu Lumine BethelBethel Adiele ’23 (Facebook)Adiele ’23 wrote about the transformative power in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and how chapter 7 “read my life—and then changed it.”

“Everyone knows that is my favorite book in the Bible!” he said. “Paul’s discourse on the law and grace really opened my eyes to see God’s beautiful story of our redemptive freedom in and co-heirship with Christ! Read and re-read Romans y’all! It’ll change you.”


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