Religious groups on campus allow students opportunity to explore their faith


NIU students interested in joining others with similar beliefs don’t need to look any further.

Diversity is evident in the variety of religious groups that are recognized as organizations by the Student Association. The pool of organizations range from Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) to Muslim Students Association (MSA) to Atheists, Agnostics, and Free Thinkers (AAFT).

Other groups include Hillel Jewish Student Organization, Lutheran Student Fellowship, Presbyterian Campus Ministry and many others.

To Vice President of the SA, Lauren Mock, diversity is a very important thing, and she believes students should have many differing options.

“I think having so many organizations on campus really appeals to hundreds and even thousands of students,” Mock said. “It brings diversity to campus.”

Mock hopes to help students get involved even more with organizations.

One of the organizations, AAFT, offers a place for students who are atheist or agnostic to interact with one another in a setting that promotes their beliefs. President and junior psychology major, Kathryn Panger, wants students to feel welcome to explore with their group.

“Our goal is to promote critical thinking among students. We support everyone’s beliefs, but we also encourage people to look at evidence before they choose what they want to believe,” Panger said. “We want to create an open forum where people can talk about what they believe in.”

Campus Crusade for Christ President Ronald Keres, a junior physical education major, also believes opportunities to express your thoughts is a benefit in joining an organization like CRU.

“Here at CRU, we want students to help grow their faith in God and help prepare them to share their faith with their friends,” Keres said.

Muslim students also can join an organization to share their beliefs with others. The MSA is a nationally recognized organization with an NIU branch. President Shareef Khoga, a senior manufacturing engineering technology major, knows the importance of diversity as well.

“It’s important to have diversity, not only for students who want to discuss their beliefs with others, but also to make students aware of other beliefs besides their own. That’s one of our goals for MSA,” Khoga said.

Students interested in starting their own organization can start the process through the SA. Students will fill out a recognition packet and meet with Mock. Once that is complete, they must give a presentation to SA Senate. Senate then votes on whether the group should be recognized by SA as an organization.