Campus Ministry: Something for Everyone
Marist's Largest Club Offers a Rich Variety of Activities for All Students
Campus Ministry is widely known as the largest club at Marist, and this is no surprise considering all the different groups and activities that Campus Ministry offers. There truly is something for everyone.
Though the group has its roots in the Judeo-Christian roots and traditions of the Marist Brothers, Campus Ministry in its current iteration offers a number of opportunities for all students, regardless of religious beliefs.
Campus Ministry is known for providing religious services for multiple faiths, though they do much more on campus including retreats, community service, and mission trips.
Every year there is a freshman overnight retreat as well as topical day retreats. Some of the topical retreats include an art retreat, a yoga retreat, and the most popular, the Buddhist Mindfulness retreat, which is offered every semester.
Campus minister Michelle Khawam said the retreats are typically most popular among freshmen, who are eager to meet people, especially people with the same interests and values, which is why the topical retreats are so popular. After each retreat, campus ministry asks for feedback from students who participated, which is overwhelmingly positive: “It’s fantastic,” Khawam said, “but we can always make improvements, so all the feedback is taken seriously.”
Community service is another popular activity offered by Campus Ministry. Brother Michael runs the weekly community service programs, which students can sign up for at the beginning of the semester. They can volunteer at food banks, schools, and other local locations, and Campus Ministry provides transportation to and from the locations each week. There are approximately 300 students involved in weekly community service this semester.
Michelle Khawam also organizes the special service projects, which are single-day service projects rather than a weekly commitment. Recently, Campus Ministry participated in a special community service project at Violet Avenue School helping with Picture Day.
For students who want to completely immerse themselves in the experience of giving back, Campus Ministry offers two mission trips each year; students can volunteer in Merida, Mexico or Grainger County, Tennessee. Each year, the club brings nine students to Mexico and seven to Tennessee.
Both trips are one week long, and the Global Outreach trip to Mexico takes place during spring break, while the Glenmary Farm trip to Tennessee is the week after finals. Campus Ministry has participated in the Global Outreach program for at least eight years. In Merida, students stay at a Marist Brothers community center and get to spend the week immersing themselves in the culture. Khawam said, “They spend the day doing community service, and during the nights get to play with the local kids.” In Tennessee, the group volunteers for Glenmary Farm, an organization which offers immersive mission trips in rural America. Glenmary Farm then places the Campus Ministry volunteers at sites throughout the city to do various volunteer projects which can range from fixing up houses to working at food banks.
For students who prefer to take a less hands-on approach to service, Campus Ministry also does campus-wide service projects like the Giving Tree project and Hunger Awareness month. The Giving Tree project is a yearly effort which provides holiday gifts to over 25 families in need. Involvement in this project requires students to help with promoting the project, writing labels, wrapping gifts, or delivering the gifts, so there is a place for everyone to who wants to get involved. Students who choose to get involved with Hunger Awareness month can collect donations throughout campus, participate in the yearly Hunger Walk, or participate in the Hunger Meal.
All students are encouraged to get involved with Campus Ministry in some way, whether through religious services, community groups, mission trips, retreats, or community service. Campus Ministry stresses that everyone is welcome in all of their programs; Khawam said, “Everything we do is open to students of all faith backgrounds.”
Written by Sophia Brana '17
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