First year students take first step in spiritual life

Story by Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer, Video by Kennedy Dendy | Broadcast Reporter

Grabbing coffee in the Bobo, serving Waco on a brand new service day and finding a new church community are just a few events freshmen have to look forward to throughout the next few weeks.

One of the first ways for freshman to jump into Spiritual Life at Baylor was through the annual church fair during Welcome Week on Aug. 18, where representatives from local church communities around Waco set up booths and handed out fliers to provide incoming students with information about how to get connected.

Ronda Kusey, assistant to the university chaplain, sees the church fair and other events as ways to make new students feel included and welcome within the spiritual life community.

“We hope they find a church that they can truly belong to,” Kusey said. “We hope to welcome freshman and let them know we are here for them — if they have anything they need help with, we’re here.”

Kusey also encourages new students to check out the spiritual life website, which includes a list of local churches around Waco and contact information for getting a ride over to a service.

A new addition is being added to the spiritual life calendar this year — First Step. First Step is a day for first-year Baylor students to get engaged in community service by participating in projects like river clean-up and making care kits for the homeless. It will take place from 7:45 a.m. -1 p.m. on Saturday, beginning with check-in at the SUB Bowl.

Holly Tate, assistant director for missions at Baylor, has worked in the spiritual life department for nine years and sees this new service day as a way to get first-year students involved in service projects from the beginning of their time at Baylor.

“This is kind of our way of telling students that from day one, this is something Baylor does in the Waco community,” Tate said. “You don’t have to wait until Steppin’ Out to get involved.”

First Step plans to serve Raising Cane’s and Heritage Creamery and hand out T-shirts to the first 100 people who register.

Another important Spiritual Life event is Neighbor Nights, which teams up with campus groups to highlight a different culture every other Tuesday during the school year.

A common goal is within the spiritual life department is “to nurture and develop your faith and to engage with our local and global communities,” the department website says.

According to Kusey, the Bobo Spiritual Life Center is the place to go for any questions, or even just to grab food or coffee, spend time with friends or ask for advice.

“The Spiritual Life Center is an excellent resource, and there’s people here who are very passionate about what they do,” Tate said. “If students have questions, we can walk them through that discernment process and let them know we are here for them.”