My son, who is a college sophomore, has been an orientation leader this summer at his small, liberal arts university. Entering students were required to stay overnight on campus on campus this year for summer orientation, and I have loved hearing stories about everything from get-to-know-you games to “night patrol” because a group wanted to leave campus and experience the local nightlife as a self-led “extracurricular opportunity.” Mostly, I have loved seeing him grow as a leader and a human as he (in his words) “took what he learned as a junior counselor at a Presbyterian camp and translated it to college.”
What struck me most, though, is the reminder of how much work and intention goes in to making people feel welcome, and how much that effort pays off as students enter (or re-enter) their college community. Yet I bet you already know this, as this is the work that you do day in and day out. From tabling at orientations, training student leaders, and hosting “Welcome Back” events, to gathering names of Presbyterian students coming your way to following up with a returning student…..in August, the tasks seem endless and it’s easy to wonder if any of it matters at all. I want to remind you it does. It absolutely does.
The thirteenth-century Christian mystic Mechthild of Magdeburg wrote, “How should one live? Live life welcoming to all.” This is what you are doing – campus ministry that welcomes ALL.
Know you are each in my prayers as the summer winds down and the Fall begins.
Blessings and peace,