United Campus Ministries, Indiana State University

In 2005, I started a new chapter of my life – college. I was excited and a bit nervous, and became even more nervous when I was looking for a job. Luckily for me Indiana State University was having a job fair for the incoming students to easily find a job on campus. Unluckily, no one was looking at me at this fair, or paying any heed that I could be a valuable asset. It could have been the fact I never had a real job while I was in high school, although I did have plenty of after school activities and clubs where I held very high accountable roles. I was always told by my parents that school was my real job.

Only one person behind his booth gave me a friendly smile, greeted me warmly, and happily took my application. This was the Rev. Jack Diel of United Campus Ministries, from whom I later received a call, had an interview and got the job – and I am still happily working there.

This place though, is more than just a job for me, it is my home away from home.

First off, United Campus Ministries has the same philosophy as my family that school is my real job. My family at UCM, like my family at home, just wants me to succeed in higher education. They too help me develop my “real-world” skills and give me other opportunities that I might not have as a college student.

Another reason is we eat together. One of the programs I hold very dear is called Table Talks. We meet every Wednesday. A member of the board brings a meal (often home cooked) and while we eat this meal, students from Indiana Sate, Rose-Hulman and Saint Mary, along with facility and friends, discuss whatever is on our minds. It gives me a moment to let stress out, to nourish my body, nourish my mind and just simply be with friends.

We all share our own thoughts and beliefs. I may not agree with them, but at least I can have this moment of learning where I can see how other people assess the world around them and such understanding has made me a wiser person. There is a level of respect at the table and that is something I rather enjoy, because most times you don’t get that when you eat at a table with someone that is completely different than you. If UCM had not been there, I would not be at college right now.

If UCM had not been there, I would not be at college right now.

Campus pastor Glen Robyn of the Wesley Foundation at Purdue University baptizing a student.