The buzz has begun. Greenville is slowly making preparations for students to come back to our city. Stores are filling with dorm room essentials, football players are tirelessly practicing and the campus is coming back to life with vibrant purple and gold… excitement is building within our city, but even more so within us here at FUSE. Our team and staff are so excited to see all that God is going to do starting in this fall semester.
We know that its easy for students to feel like just a face in the crowd by going to a large college campus such as East Carolina University and Pitt Community College, but we know you are more than just a number. Every number has a name and every name has a story, and every story matters to God. Our hope is ultimately to lead students to become fully devoted followers of Christ- and we know for that to be accomplished that students cannot do life alone. We believe that community is essential in your walk with Jesus. There truly is power in numbers.
Lets just be real for a minute- going to college can be scary. Not horror movie scary like Freddy or Jason, but it can be incredibly intimidating. For most students, it’s unknown people, in unknown places, blankly staring into a vastly unknown future. Sounds awesome, right? Okay- maybe not at first- until you realize that all these jumbled feelings you’re processing are probably the exact same feelings your roommates, suite mates and classmates are all processing as well. It’s already evident that you are not alone! Even amidst thousands of people, you can be known… and while we believe that- we want you as a student to know that as well. We want that knowledge to be some of the fibers of your DNA. We desperately want you to know that we care for you, love you, love your story, love your walk with Jesus- whatever that looks like. We desire to do life with you. To build relationships with you… real, lasting friendships. We want our community at FUSE to be a place of solace and a place that is safe. A place where you can be known and be you. We desire for you to connect with students both like you and vastly different. We hope that as you walk through campus you can recognize a familiar face. While these campuses may be large in size, we know, that community can change intimidating to intimate.
So how do we accomplish that? How do we begin to lay the foundations of friendships? How do we cultivate community? My challenge to you, freshman, sophomore, junior or senior is not “How quickly can you figure out the formula to forming friendships?” Instead, my challenge is “How willing are you to just try it?” Yes, it can be scary to go to an event on campus where you don’t know a single soul. It’s hard to put yourself out there. But, why not just try?
Freshmen: take a risk. It’s worth it. Go to the event…well maybe not every event. Check out the church. Hang out with the other students on campus. You’ll never know if you like it, until you try it. The more committed you can be to trying, the more likely you are to find what you’re searching for. The first two weeks of you being on campus are two of the most forming weeks of your collegiate career, so carpe diem. Try all the things. Make all the friends. Be bold. You can. Be okay with trying again and again. Sometimes you won’t find the perfect fit right away. Don’t let that discourage you. Keep fighting- stay committed to finding community and I promise you will.
Upper classmen: you are not too cool. You were once a freshman too. You were once the kid with the lanyard and map of campus. Be who you needed when you were younger. Be the mentor. Be the friend. Be the one who is intentional about loving your campus. As mentioned the first two weeks are crucial on campus. My challenge:
Make every effort to make every student feel known and welcomed. Be purposeful in invitations. Invitations to lunch, to play ultimate frisbee, to check out FUSE and Ignite, to do life together. Lets build up and bring in. Lets change our campus one invitation at a time.
As a staff, we have incredible expectations for this semester. We truly believe the best is yet to come. We cannot wait to do life with you. To walk alongside you and for you to be a part of the FUSE story and family.
This first semester is slammed full of opportunity to get connected. We hope you take full advantage of all that is going on. First we want to invite you to come check us out Tuesdays at 8pm. Our very first FUSE worship gathering will be August 22nd in Hendrix Theatre (Mendenhall Student Center) and we are excited for what’s to come! As always, stay connected through social media by following us on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter @ecufuse and like us on Facebook!
The buzz has begun, the expectations are rising and revival is coming. We can’t wait to see you there!
Liz Brantley serves as the Associate Director for FUSE College Ministry on the campuses of East Carolina University and Pitt Community College in Greenville, NC.