Kean University is an institution that strives to build a community that is accepting and helpful for all students, faculty and community members. In an environment where students are given the opportunity to join clubs and organizations of different creed, Cru serves as an organization that provides an outlet for Christian believers on campus.
On the basis of religious backgrounds, Kean implemented Kean Cru to allow students the opportunity to be a part of a ministry without having to leave the boundaries of campus. Kean Cru is one of 23 chapters of the Jersey Metro campus ministry in the United States.
Their group meetings are broken into two days. Large meetings are open to everyone Thursday nights at 8 p.m. in the Center for Academic Success (CAS), Room 245, while smaller group meetings are held every second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 3:15 p.m. in CAS 236.
With the aim to provide a caring community filled with passionate people sharing Christian beliefs, Cru is dedicated to being an outlet for discussion. The executive board consists of President Faith Oluwadare, Vice President Catherine Gutierrez, Treasurer Lauren Ball, Secretary Sarah Fedak and Advisor Kim Spaccarotella.
Oluwadare, a senior majoring in psychology with a minor in health and American sign language, spoke about how important it is for her and her team members to deliver a platform where questions and issues are raised within the Christian community.
"I manage our programs, so we meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays and that is where I implement these duties," said Oluwadare. "I don't really like considering myself president because [the executive board] collectively works together, so it is a spiritual group where we discover what we think the campus needs. I just help to facilitate, but everyone pitches in on what we want to do for Cru."
Their aim for the semester is simply to reach out to different students who may be interested in Cru and what there is to offer. With a motto such as "Cru is a caring, compassionate community", the organization seeks to spread awareness about different topics for all students.
Cru shares the gospel of God as a part of a branch full of college campuses, military bases, schools and other organizations which are spread out.
"On this campus, Cru is about connecting students to the gospel, but in a way that is not intimidating and influencing Christian stereotypes. Students should know it is not a church or that type of background, as we all discuss topics and try to hear each other out," said Oluwadare.
In regard to the topics spoken at meetings, Cru respects the opinions and values of others and strive to implement that in their conversations.
"Cru gives students the opportunity to connect and become friends with each other. No matter the background, no one will judge you because we are all here to listen and be supportive," said Oluwadare.
Kean Cru has four main elements:
- Bible Study
In regard to events, Cru is adamant about creating a community of students that will enjoy the fellowship and journeys that are taken throughout the east coast.
"In the past we've done prayer walks on nicer days where we walk around and pray for buildings and people, so that everyone is being thought of," said Oluwadare. "We also have a global program where we ask people with different backgrounds to come in and share their stories about the gospel worldwide. Unfortunately, there are some countries where people get persecuted for the gospel so we want to bring awareness to that."
Cru here at Kean has provided events like "Pizza and God," "Empanadas and God" and "Break the Stigma" to spark discussion in a relaxing environment.
"Break the Stigma was an event that mainly focused on Christian stereotypes and asking people to come in and talk about things that make them feel neglected as Christians," said Oluwadare.
Aside from events on campus, students are able to be a part of retreats, such as a fall retreat and a New Year's Eve retreat that allow groups of people who have similar beliefs to come together.
Oluwadare wants students to understand that Cru is for both people at Kean and every other organization around the world. Fedak, a sophomore studying political science, also benefited from Cru and hopes to spend that wealth with others.
"As secretary, some of my responsibilities include taking notes during meetings and helping with flyers. I also aid in leading bible discussions and opening prayer," said Fedak. "Cru has impacted me because I am a Christian believer, and this is a community I can be comfortable around."
Furthermore, Fedak and Oluwadare hope that students — whether interested or not — understand that Cru welcomes all people!