Students at Russell Sage College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, New York, can easily find who the Christians are on their campuses. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship students bring them cookies every week. Students can sign up for the deliveries throughout the school year and the cookies are made by members of local churches.
One student recently told the cookie team that their presence was a comfort to him. He knew that if he felt stressed or lonely, there was a group of people who cared about him.
Stress and particularly loneliness have become a more ominous presence on college campuses.
A survey by the global health service company Cigna found college-aged young people in the US reported more feelings of loneliness than previous generations. The Higher Education Research Institute reports incoming freshmen rating both their physical and emotional health lower and lower every year.
These kinds of mental health concerns are familiar to InterVarsity Campus Staff Ministers.
“Students often don’t know how to have conversations, do conflict, and link theoretical faith values to day-to-day prayer, vulnerability, and community,” says Scott Hall, a veteran staff member based in Kent, Washington.
Before teaching about doctrine and Christian values, Hall says students need to be shown how to love, pray, talk, and share with each other.
One of the biggest differences between Generation Z and their predecessors is the presence of social media as they came of age. Social media provides a form of connection for college students, but it can only go screen-deep.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Lyndsey Koh