Campus is a place to find faith

By Sarah Langbein MCT

When the Rev. Robert L. Carpenter started a small, faith-based organization at the University of Central Florida four years ago, he never imagined how big it would become.

Today, what began as a word-of-mouth venture packs in students at Sunday services and boasts an e-mail list of nearly 2,000. Incoming freshmen seek out University Christian Fellowship when they arrive on campus, not just the other way around.

Carpenter’s group is just one of many faith-based organizations on local college campuses that are reporting a recent jump in membership. A Harvard poll released this year found that seven out of 10 U.S. college students said “religion is somewhat or very important in their lives,” and 25 percent say they’ve become more spiritual since entering college.

“With all the uncertainty in the world – with the war, bird flu, hurricanes – students are looking for some kind of faith connection,” Carpenter says of the boost.

And for some, that means branching away from Greek life, athletics and activities that bombard them with peer pressure and alcohol.