Religious Affiliation & Campus Life

<p>Is your university/college affiliated with a particular religious faith? If so, this thread is for you. </p>

<p>First of all, what religious faith tradition does your school belong to? Second, do you feel that this affiliation has an impact (positively or negatively) on campus life?</p>

<p>Me first: While my university (University of Toronto) as a whole does not align itself with any religious faith, several of the colleges which make up U of T are religiously-affiliated: St. Michael's College (Roman Catholic - Basilian), Regis College (Roman Catholic - Jesuit), Trinity College ("high church" Anglican, or Anglo-Catholic), Wycliffe College ("low-church" Anglican), Emmanuel College (United-Methodist), and Knox College (Presbyterian). I'm a student at St. Mike's.</p>

<p>Personally, I would have to say -- with some regret -- that my college's Catholic tradition has very little impact on campus life. There is a wonderful parish here and a great chaplaincy, as well as some faith-based extracurricular groups, but overall I would say that you wouldn't know St. Mike's is a Catholic college at all unless you actively sought out these services. Our student-run, Basilian Father-funded newspaper is just as secular (and in many ways even more anti-Catholic) as those of the non-religious colleges, and the majority of those who make up the religious community here seem to be "spirit of Vatican II" lefties and anti-papal/anti-dogma "cafeteria" Catholics. The most "controversial" stance St. Mike's has taken in recent years has been to not include condoms in their Frosh kits (which, despite the college's liberal-friendly stances on every other subject, nonetheless caused a mild anti-Catholic uproar in the wider U of T community). Most of the professors are non-religious, as are most of the student body. All in all, my observations here bring to mind a quote by the great Catholic apologist Bishop Fulton Sheen: "If you want your children to lose their faith, send them to a Catholic college."</p>

<p>What about you?</p>

<p>Well, as a student at Notre Dame, I feel like I almost have to answer your post. Personally, I think Notre Dame's status as a Catholic university definitely has a positive impact on campus life. There are always opportunities to practice your faith to whatever degree you choose. About 85% of the student body is Catholic, as well as a fair number of the professors (although the university would prefer to have more). From the minute you step on campus, it is very apparent that Notre Dame is a Catholic institution, but there is never any pressure for those who don't want to to go to mass or for non-Catholics to convert. There are tons of masses every week (ranging from the formal mass in the basilica to the very casual- ppl show up in PJs- masses in the dorms) and there are plenty of clubs on campus for all different styles of worship (including a nondenominational Christian group as well as Jewish and Muslim student groups, which are admittedly quite small). There are definitely quite a few "cafeteria Catholics" and students who don't go to mass regularly or abide by Catholic doctrine at all times, but the university makes it clear what they stand for and there is a lot of support for those who do choose to stay true to their faith. It is such a contrast to my high school (where most people were atheist or at most "spiritual" and at times could be quite anti-Catholic). I've only been at ND for half a semester so far, but, all in all, I've been happy to see how the university makes an effort to encourage intellectual inquiry while remaining true to their Catholic roots.</p>

<p>I've only been Catholic for about 6 months, so I've seen the influence of Duquesne's religious affiliation from the perspective of a Catholic, and the perspective of an Anglican. I definitely think that the religious affiliation impacts the university in a very positive way. It is very easy to practice your faith here. There is Mass twice a day, frequent Confession, and weekly Adoration. There are certainly a lot of non-Catholics, because Duquesne has some very good programs which attract people of various backgrounds, but there is never any pressure put on them to become Catholic. I always felt very comfortable at Duquesne, and didn't feel pressured into anything. Converting was my decision, and I loved being able to share that experience with the school that has had so much impact on me in so many ways. </p>

<p>Being religiously affiliated, we don't have to be afraid to discuss religion. I'll be honest, I have to remember that sometimes when I'm not at Duquesne, because I forget that not everyone wants to discuss their faith. I'm a theology student, so I've always loved discussing the subject. Whenever someone has died, we've always offered a campus Mass, we've had inter-faith prayer services for finals, for September 11, for Hurricane Katrina, and for several other intentions. When our five basketball players were shot, we had a campus-wide prayer vigil for them. Everytime a prayer service or a Mass has been held, it is always a moving experience to see such campus unity. I don't know if I would have been able to experience that at a non-religious school.</p>

<p>I go to a private arts-school and there is definitely no religious affiliation. There are relgious groups on campus, and the Christian group, CRU is highly active, as well as the Jewish student group. I know people here of every religious group (or lack thereof). The school is incredibly supportive of whatever your beliefs are.</p>

<p>I go to a Methodist University (and am not Methodist)</p>

<p>There's really not much impact, except that Intro to Bib Lit is a required GE, and for another GE, you have a choice between ethics/morals/comparitive religions classes. I'm actually finding bib lit pretty fascinating, having had almost no background with the Bible. The only other impact is that things are rarely scheduled for Thursday at 1pm or on Wednesday nights, because of church and church choirs (half the school is perf. arts majors). But the school in general is very accepting. We've had a somewhat difficult time advertising for our GSA outside of the perf. arts schools, but that could also be because we're in the bible belt.</p>

<p>I'm at Pepperdine University, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ. I'd say the affiliation has a positive impact on campus life.</p>

<p>Students are requred to attend 14 convocation/chapel sessions a semester, pretty much one a week. There are different options students can choose from, such as joining a small group, or Friday morning worship services. Most students attend the Wednesday morning convo (no classes are scheduled during that time period), during which there's usually some guest speaker. Whatever you go to, each convo brings up Christianity in some way.</p>

<p>Plus as part of the GE requirements there are some religion courses everyone takes. The one I'm in currently is History and Religion of Israel, which pretty much is just going through the Old Testament of the Bible.</p>

<p>We've also got some stricter rules because of the religious affiliation. Our campus is dry, something strongly enforced, and sex isn't allowed. This doesn't have to do with a rule, but I've definitely heard less cussing since I've been here than I heard from my friends in high school.</p>

<p>For those who want it, there are many opprotunities to get more involved in the church or stronger in your faith. There's a Church of Christ that meets on campus in the auditorium, which is composed mainly of students. There are also lots of local churches nearby that students who aren't Church of Christ will often attend. Every freshman dorm (not sure if they have similar things in other housing areas) has a weekly Bible study, that's ran by the Spiritual Life Advisor of the dorm (who's a fellow student). There are plenty small groups or ministries students can easily join.</p>

<p>We also have a "dry campus," though plenty of people still go elsewhere, and I know drinking goes on at the frat parties. And we have stricter rules for the girls dorm, like no guys after midnight on weekdays and two on weekends, and all guys have to sign in and leave their ID at the front desk. The one time I guy managed to get through, they noticed it, and had RAs knocking on every single door looking for him. I don't think the guys, honors, or upperclass dorms have the strict rules, though, but I kind of like living in the "Virgin Vault."</p>

<p>Ah, yes. We have parietals as well- for both girls' and guys' dorms. I know people have gotten past the rule, but they have to be pretty discreet about it. Guys dorms are more lax witht his than the girls' dorms are. People complain about it a lot- but I kind of like not having to worry about having random guys wandering around our dorm in the middle of the night. Also, our campus is definitely not dry, but we aren't allowed to have any hard liquor or kegs. Of course, there are always those people who do have it, but they have to be careful not to be caught- or the fines can get pretty steep.</p>

<p>Yeah, we have rules about guys and girls being on the same floor. People get past it, but it's kind of a hassle, since you have to get someone to sign you up for an overnight pass if you intend on staying past the required time you have to leave (for upperclassmen it's 2am every night).</p>

<p>I am sorry to intrude on this thread, but fides et ratio do you think you would be able to post something about the different U of Toronto colleges, such as the student life there etc</p>

<p>"I am sorry to intrude on this thread, but fides et ratio do you think you would be able to post something about the different U of Toronto colleges, such as the student life there etc"</p>

<p>No problem. </p>

<p>I'm assuming that you want to know about the Arts & Science undergraduate colleges at U of T (there are several graduate-only colleges at the University -- Regis, Wycliffe, Knox, etc. -- but all undergraduate colleges have overlapping graduate deptartments). I'm just a first-year student here, thus my knowledge of my institutional surroundings isn't terribly deep, but I shall try my best. </p>

<p>Firstly, there are seven of them: St. Michael's College, Trinity College, University College, Victoria University, Woodsworth College, Innis College, and New College. Right off the bat, I know virtually nothing about New College and Innis, not even exactly where they are located (U of T has a gigantic campus). St. Mike's I have described, except for the fact that its library (the John H. Kelly Library) is absolutely fantastic if you're into theology, Scripture studies, philosophy, history, political science, etc. Great study space, friendly and knowledgeable staff. </p>

<p>Trinity is considered the "elite" college on campus by many people here, in part due to the fact that it is the most selective in determining who gets in. Until very recently, apparently, students living at Trinity were required to wear gowns to meals and other regular functions. I haven't spent a whole lot of time around the college, but based on a few study sessions at its library I can say this: the atmosphere reeks of elitism and snobbery. The library staff seem far snootier and less helpful than at other college libraries, and people look at you like you don't belong there if you have a couple days worth of stubble on your face and a baseball cap on. It is quite preppy and very... closed. Can't say I'm a fan.</p>

<p>University College is the bomb. The entire college is one enormous, old, gorgeous stone building with an absolutely beautiful courtyard situated in the very center, adorned with cloisters. Beautiful to the eye to be sure. The library isn't very big but is a good, quiet study space. The overall atmosphere is open and friendly. "UC" is apparently the best college for parties and wild events (I wouldn't know, personally -- I'm not a partier). Even students who don't have classes at UC hang out there often. I love it.</p>

<p>Victoria is another eye-catcher -- great old buildings adorned with ivy and a killer courtyard where students hang out, study, and sunbathe on the grass in the warmer months. The atmosphere is similar to UC; very welcoming and laid-back. "Vic," as everyone calls it, is big on English literature. It probably houses far more English majors than any other college; as such, its library is amazing for English lit. One funny thing I have observed is that you can generally spot a Vic student from a mile away throughout the larger U of T campus -- they just look like English majors. </p>

<p>As for Woodsworth, it is a smaller college and is mainly geared toward part-time students, mature students, and students coming in from other countries, although there are many "regular" full-timers there as well. It is hands-down the most open, friendly, and helpful in terms of academic tutoring. Woodsworth really makes it known that they want their students to do the best they can academically, and are there to help them achieve their goals any way they can. (I know this, because I was a Woodsworth student when I was in its Academic Bridging Program, last year. I switched over to St. Mike's when I got into U of T as a full-time student, but sometimes I think I made a mistake in doing so.) Overall, Woodsworth is a great college. It is sometimes looked down upon by students at other colleges, but I think it is one of the best for any student, for the reasons mentioned above. </p>

<p>Now that I've described the colleges, it is probably important to say a word about U of T's college system in general. The one thing to take note of is that the college system here is nowhere nearly as autonomous as it is at, say, Oxford. No matter what your particular college at U of T, everyone has classes all over campus and at other colleges, and all programs and courses are open to everyone, regardless of what your college is and what college sponsors those programs and courses. The system is very "free." For instance, I'm a student at St. Mike's, but I only have one course there (philosophy); my Greek, Latin, and political science courses are all at UC, and my Classical Studies course is at a non-college building across the way from Woodsworth. Thus, if you are not living on residence, your particular college membership is largely "honorary" in nature; it doesn't make a lick of difference in your life if you don't want it to. (If you are living on residence, obviously it makes a great deal of difference, simply because your college is where you live.)</p>

<p>What is good about the college system here, fundamentally, is that each college is a small campus/community within the mammouth U of T campus/community. U of T being as big as it is, it can be very imposing: it is easy to get "lost" (not just figuratively!) in the shuffle. What ones college provides is a home base in which it is much easier to make connections, and make friends, through the various groups, clubs, and events unique to each college. </p>

<p>Hope that helps!</p>