By: Luis “Luigi” Finston
Religions groups on NMSU campus are growing every semester. Students unite for one common reason and gain friendships with people who have similar interests.
There are several religious student organizations on campus: Christian Challenge, RUF, and Alpha Chi. Each unique and offering a place to worship for their particular religious beliefs.
Jake Barnett is an Engineering major and member of AFC (Aggies for Christ). He describes AFC as a place where he feels welcomed and where the enthusiasm for meeting new people never ceases. “In college, we are all here to grow and mature into better people”, he says.
“It encourages you to become intellectually better and spiritually better. It’s a group of people that is striving towards God and invites others to join.”
Barnett explains that every Wednesday night AFC has a worship night. The organization makes every effort to put together retreats for students as well as game nights. Earlier this year AFC hosted a food truck fiesta and at the end of the year they will be hosting a Luau for the students.
“AFC, for me, is about involvement”, he said.
“For me, AFC is an organization that brings you with like-minded people. I know I can call anyone at AFC and I know they have my back and we’ll make time for each other, no matter how busy we are”.
Barnett firmly believes that if he wasn’t involved in AFC he wouldn’t have as many engagements with other people.
“Being with AFC was the first time that I felt a “fire” for God”, he said.
“It took me from a passive stance with religion to having the ability and the drive to bring others to God, and shine a light upon things.”
Evan Connor describes his experience in a similar fashion. Connor is a member of CRU. He has been a member since his first semester of freshman year.
“I would describe CRU has a community of students that really care about the spiritual being of the campus”, he said.
“Throughout the week we have different bible studies which we call “live groups”. There is one that is specifically designed for freshman and there are separate ones for men and women. Our weekly meetings commence on Thursday’s and after we usually go out as a group to eat somewhere and socialize and connect with each other.”
Like Barnett in AFC, Connor says that if he hadn’t joined some type of religious organization, his college experience would have been drastically different.
“I don’t think I would have a solid understanding of the Gospel. I probably also would not be active in my faith without CRU.”
Several religious organizations have been a part of the NMSU campus for many years. The St. Albert Newman Center, or as it’s known today; NMSU Catholic, has been a part of the university since 1930. It is one of the oldest religious student organizations on campus.
Anissa Wright is a ministry team servant leader who has been a part of the servant leadership council at NMSU Catholic for the past year.
“I believe that the community at NMSU Catholic quite is welcoming”, she said.
“For a lack of better words, it’s a very “judgment free zone”. The community strives to get people to be a part of the organization regardless if they are catholic or not, which makes it unique.”
“It’s given me something bigger than myself. When I first got to college I was looking for something to be a part of and kind of give me life and give me motivation. I wanted to find a group of people whom I could call a family. I joined Greek Life and I realized it wasn’t for me. Once I went to Aggie Awakening, which is NMSU Catholic’s primary retreat, I knew I had found everything I had been searching for since my freshman year.”
Wright said that for her, having a religious student community behind her has not only made her a stronger and more confident individual, but has helped her find her place in a busy and hectic college environment.
“I think I’d be following societies culture, and doing more of what our generation thinks is the “cool thing” to do. With NMSU Catholic I’ve learned a lot of my morals and beliefs and being surrounded by people who have a similar mentality.”