Students, ministers work to keep faith while on campus

Dillan Schorfheide, Staff Reporter

Some students on campus have parents who worry that homework, social media and extracurricular activities will distract them from their faith at college so ministers and students give advice on how to keep their faith.

This is the case for KC Campanano, president of the Wesley Foundation at Eastern and psychology major.

“Well both my parents are pastors. My whole faith community have really been my parents and whatever church they’ve been appointed at. They are very strong about finding a campus ministry here,” Campanano said.

Lucas Mossman, a senior finance major, said after he attended Lake Land College for two years and came to Eastern he wanted to join a faith group because he would occasionally go to church, but last year he started to get more involved in his faith.

“I knew coming over here that I really wanted to get involved in something, so the first week or two I was looking around for different ministries.” Mossman said. “I think if I wouldn’t have gotten involved with something, it definitely would have been harder, but surrounding myself with good people who have the same mindset as me, and who want the same things, was really the key to keep me on track.”

He said there are always distractions that interfere with his faith, whether it is something on campus or an extracurricular on the weekend. He also mentioned there are classes, homework and work to worry about.

Mossman said watching TV is fun but if a person watches too much it will come back to haunt them. Instead students should complete little assignments during their free time.

Campanano and her fiancé Matt Cottrell, senior management information systems major, both said they deal with distractions but stay active in their faith by hanging out with other students at the Wesley Foundation.

Chi Alpha Campus Ministry President and Pastor Mark Bettinger said he transferred from Eastern to Illinois State University, where he pioneered a campus ministry, so he had to bring his “A game,” to the ministry.

“I didn’t get straight A’s as a student because I knew that the Lord was wanting me to be a Christian on campus,” Bettinger said.

He also mentioned being a student 20 years ago is different than being a student today. He said students today are “barraged” with distractions, naming YouTube, Hulu and instant messaging as examples.

Bettinger said the topic of distractions is one he talks about with his students in Chi Alpha a lot because he wants them to be good students but also stay strong in their faith. He helps his students by talking with them about time management and staying focused.

Campanano mentioned social media is a big distraction, but having friends who are not in the same faith community is a distraction as well. She said it is a matter of finding the balance between respecting someone else’s differences while also standing strong in your own faith.

She and Cottrell also agreed on how important it is for Christian students to stay active and learn about other religions.

“I think it’s really important. If they have already had a faith, I think it’s also important to explore different faiths. If they aren’t coming with a faith, I think it is even more important to see what you believe in,”Campanano said.

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]