Church of God Students Connect on Campus
By Leah Streeval
Many students who attend Anderson University are exposed to the school through a Church of God connection. Dr. Brent Baker, vice president for student affairs, grew up in the Church of God and has a desire to connect students who come from a Church of God background.
“Nearly 30 percent of our students are Church of God students,” said Baker. “Once students get here, we don’t have anything to connect students around that commonality.”
Connecting Church of God students on campus is important to Baker. He met recently with some students and staff who grew up in the Church of God, where the idea of connecting Church of God students was discussed. The next step is to plan an event that would allow Church of God students to meet others from the same background.
“I don’t really identify the school as predominantly Church of God because of the diversity of denominations,” said Taylor Lyon, a junior Christian ministries major. “I’m very grateful for the diversity at AU, but it would still be nice to get back to the foundation of where I grew up and connect with others of similar backgrounds.”
Giving students a chance to meet with others who share a common background may encourage prospective students to attend AU, as many students desire to attend a school that immediately connects them with a familiar group of people. “The Church of God is a small world, and many times people just need that first opportunity to realize what they have in common with other students,” said David Ragsdale, a junior computer science and music business major.
Along with connecting with each other, some students want to provide education to others on campus about the Church of God. Many AU students come to the school with no prior knowledge of the Church of God. Having students educate others may allow for a larger respect for the university’s affiliation and history.
“Connecting should help students learn a little bit more about the tradition that established this place and allowed them to have this environment for learning,” said Ragsdale.
According to the Church of God website, the Church of God began in Anderson in 1881 as a movement emphasizing the unity of God’s people and holy living.
“Growing up in the Church of God, I was always super connected with other Church of God students, but when I came to AU I really felt a disconnect,” said Kelsey Leis, a sophomore youth ministries major. “I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to connect with other students who understand and share my theology on a special level.”
Leah Streeval is a junior from Edinburgh, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in entrepreneurship. Streeval is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America’s top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.