Sunday, October 12, 2008
InterVarsity at Hofstra University
With the third and final presidential debate coming up this week and with the debates continuing to be in the news, I went searching to see if the Body of Christ that will be close-by that event is preparing any notable response.
The debate is scheduled for October 15 at Hofstra University. With 12,600 total enrollment, Hofstra boasts that it is the largest private college on Long Island, sitting about 25 miles east of New York City.
From a faith perspective, Hostra is remarkably different from the previous debate host, Belmont University. (See my entry about that from October 9.) While Belmont is a Christian college that appears to go to great lengths to make itself a “Christian community,” Hofstra appears to have little interest in matters of faith or Christianity. While it claims 150 student clubs and organizations, I was only able to identify four with any faith connection and just two with Christian ties: the Protestant Community and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. (The other two were the Muslim Students Association and the Iranian Jewish Club.)
When I contacted InterVarsity for more information, I received a reply from Dan Brady, Area Director for InterVarsity on Long Island. Here is what he wrote:
“We are joining the campaign energy on campus that has come with the debate next week. All the clubs have been offered an opportunity to be a part of ‘Issue Alley’ where they can promote a campaign issue that connects to their club. We are doing an environmental theme called, ‘How green is your soul?’ It is an interactive survey with large graphics and short environmental statements/questions where participants are offered the chance to place a sticker on a laminated response area under the category/answer where they best connect. The sticker remains so subsequent students can see where the campus at large tends to respond.
“Towards the end of the survey, the idea/questions begin to connect with spiritual themes. ‘Does the poor care of our environment reflect a general selfishness in people today?’ ‘If our planet has a creator, how does He feel about our neglect/abuse of the environment He has entrusted to us?’
“There will be an opportunity to talk further about the Gospel if the student tends to be interested. Traditionally, we call these types of outreaches ‘proxe stations,’ as it is an actual standing station that is very visual and attracts students into dialogues about various campus topics. Pray for us and our ability to connect students to the Gospel and their Creator.
“The campus is pretty much in lock down mode. The only way we could have been involved is to go through the existing programming. Fortunately, they have invited clubs to participate so we jumped at the chance.
“Thanks for your interest.”