Annual Evaluation Affirms Strong Spirituality on WWU Campus
Can the spiritual life of a campus be measured? Walla Walla University is taking intentional steps to do just that.
Every year since 2003, a representative number of students, faculty, and staff complete a formal survey responding to questions about spiritual life, church involvement, campus environment, and other areas.
In the survey completed last spring, 162 students, faculty, and staff indicated affirming responses overall. Students cited positive interactions with faculty, staff and other students. “I greatly enjoy how faculty and students are open about their religion,” wrote one respondent.
Another respondent wrote, “Been SDA all my life, but never had a solid relationship with God until my senior year in high school, and over the last two years, He has become real to me.”
Students also noted the influence of religion classes on their spiritual experience, as well as other classes. While some students affirmed the university’s chapel and worship program (meetings requiring student attendance), others cited the attendance requirement as negatively affecting their spiritual life.
As a result of last year’s evaluation, several new initiatives have been adopted this year. Students have broader program options including colloquia programs and service activities that will fulfill attendance requirements. Because of the broadened focus, weekly chapel programs have been renamed “University CommUnity.”
Other changes include adding winter and spring Service Days and encouraging program coordinators to involve more students.
Leading in this campus-wide effort is the Spiritual Master Planning Committee, chaired by Susan Bungard, director of spiritual development. Pedrito Maynard-Reid, vice president for spiritual life and mission, notes that the group’s goal “is to ensure the university’s commitment to “embodying and reflecting a Seventh-day Adventist Christ-centered life in love, in truth, and in practice by both experiencing and extending the love of God through discipleship, integrity, and service—to the glory of God; in the spirit of Jesus.” n
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Last update on April 16, 2008