Despite their respective differences, Butler University’s religious clubs have in common one thing beyond coexistance: The phrase “Holy freshmen.”
Butler’s religious organizations felt the impact of the class of 2017. Membership increased more than usual this year.
Matt O’Brien, a junior and member of Cru, a Christian organization on campus, said he saw an increase in the number of people attending religious services.
“A lot more people come to Sunday Mass and Cru meetings than they have in my previous years,” O’Brien said. “I think that a lot of freshmen have helped to make that number bigger.”
Needa Malik, senior and vice president of Butler’s Muslim Student Association, said the number of active MSA members doubled in size when freshmen joined.
“You’d be surprised at the amount of students who don’t stray from their religion when they go to college,” Malik said. “Students here have so many religious organizations and events to get involved with that they find a community in it and stay.”
Leah Dagen, a junior, said she noticed the same about Hillel, the Jewish organization.
O’Brien sees religion as a form of identity for students who come to Butler.
“I definitely wouldn’t have come to Butler if it didn’t have all the opportunities for Catholics that it does,” O’Brien said. “A lot of students’ identity is their religion.”
However, even with the new members’ arrival, in some students’ eyes, religious presence on campus has stayed relatively the same.
“Religious presence is in the middle at Butler,” O’Brien said. “It’s not full-force where everyone has to give you their view, but it’s not behind closed doors either. It’s a happy medium.”
Some students believe the Center for Faith and Vocation does its job of getting all students’ beliefs represented on campus.
The CFV has 11 religious clubs that call it home. It aims to keep all groups connected to each other to foster a sense of religious community.
“We all share the CFV, which immediately sends the message that we all want to coexist,” Dagen said.
Some students said they feel a more Christian presence on campus than any other religion.
“While the biggest influence on campus is definitely Christian, MSA and other small groups do things to give ourselves a presence on campus,” Malik said.