It’s an early Sunday morning, and Howard’s campus is found deserted and quiet from the partying and fun of Saturday evening. Though many students are tucked away in their beds, some wait in the morning mist outside their dorms. The ride that they eagerly wait for will take them to a place of praise, congregation and worship. At their place of worship, students will practice beliefs and their religions.
With the diversified population on Howard’s campus, it is no surprise that there are many different religions and beliefs practiced. While many have been influenced by certain religions throughout their childhoods, some students make the decision to either strengthen those familiar religions or seek new beliefs while in college.
“It’s important to be religious and spiritual in college because students need to rely on something that is unconditional and that will always be there,” says Holly Jenkins, a sophomore political science major. “We can’t rely on our parents to always help us out, so relying on faith can solve any problem”.
Jenkins, a member of Turner Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church in Maryland, was always active in her church and wanted to maintain her faith in the A.M.E. religion. The A.M.E. church is the oldest African Christian denomination in the United States when it began in 1799.
“As an A.M.E., we believe that all sinners are saved by grace and the only way to have grace is through Jesus Christ.”
Sophomore, print journalism major Anya Alexander agrees with this belief but is a member of the Catholic religion. “As a Catholic, we have many of the same beliefs of other Christian based religions but have practices that differ. Some practices are the praise of saints as symbolic figures and demonstrating the sign of the cross representing God as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
With the constant expectations and freedom college brings, many students are reluctant and hesitant to find out about other religions and beliefs. Many students feel that they have yet to find or connect with other students who have the same beliefs as them. While others do not want to turn away from their familiar churches back home.
“I don’t really practice my beliefs here at Howard because I have yet to find a church and people that are of the same beliefs and practices as I,” says sophomore economics major, Rohan Parchment. “I am a Christian but I am also Adonai which means someone who fears God.”
Freshman Broadcast News Journalism major, Dawn Hill agrees that she does not attend church while at school but still considers herself to be spiritual. “I was raised in a Baptist household, but as I get older I’m coming into my own beliefs but I will always consider God a prominent being in my life and will continue to practice prayer no matter what religion I choose.”
Even if students have yet to find a church to practice their beliefs within the city, students can participate in and join various religious groups on campus. Organizations such as Ambassadors for Christ and Alpha Omega Steppers for Christ are centered on giving students another opportunity to express and learn about their religion.
Ndidi Amadi, a sophomore political science major says she joined Alpha Omega Steppers for Christ to strengthen her beliefs and minister to others. “We have bible studies every Saturday and we have stepping performances, which not only helps me keep my religion on track but helps others who may not believe”.
Shayna Rudd, sophomore print journalism major encourages all students to seek the benefits of having a religion and spiritual life. “With spirituality comes beliefs and once you believe something you can understand your own morals, standards and limitations…you will have a better sense of self, which is what college is all about”.