Feb 102009

Many CSU students find a spiritual community with Adventist Christian Fellowship, The Rock, Young Life, Campus Crusade and other Christian organizations.

But for Lotus Blossom, a master student of music therapy, her choice to enroll in classes here rested heavily on the much thinner Pagan community. Although Christian groups make up the majority of student organizations, Lotus Blossom finds the CSU Pagan community to be large.

For many students, however, college is a rough-and-tumble struggle to find their identity and discover where their values fit in with the community. But some have conquered such adversity.

During the fifth annual Mind, Body and Spirit Fair in the Lory Student Center Monday, Lotus Blossom and four other student panelists answered, “What is Spirituality?” elaborating on the struggle and exploration each has endured.

“I feel like people come into college exploring an area that needs to be explored,” said senior history and Spanish major Joel Grove. “College is when (Christianity) became more real to me. I prayed to receive Christ, realizing for the first time what he had done for me.”

Amber Frickey, a senior business, German and international studies major, agreed.

“I think college is a big transitioning point in our lives,” Frickey said. “It’s really important to find what’s right for you.”

“I think (spirituality) is forgotten in college life,” said Katie Gray, a senior health and exercise science major. “It’s sad because it could help with stress and negativity.”

“During college people are trying to understand and find out their own beliefs,” said Max Brodsky, a sophomore English major who finds his spirituality in the Jewish religion. “I strongly believe that college is where people either find, accept or reject their spirituality or religious pathway.”

In Frickey’s case, she rejected conservative Christian mentalities at the age of 10, coming into college as an atheist.

“Humans can lead good lives regardless (of spirituality),” Frickey said. “I practice the principles of secular humanism. Logic, reasoning and science influence my decision making.”

Lotus Blossom, who differs from Frickey in theology, also embraces her spirituality daily.

“Spirituality finds my everyday life. It’s everything I do, every single day whether it’s serving the goddess or my personal needs,” Lotus Blossom said, who proclaims herself to be a priestess of the Pagan religion.

Grove, a non-denominational Christian, agreed.

“(Spirituality) is my life. When I became Christian I believed that God lived in me in-spirit,” he said.

The majority of the student panelists described Fort Collins as an open-minded community when it comes to spirituality.

Brodsky disagreed.

“The town of Fort Collins is very closed-minded and one-sided,” Brodsky said. “No matter what we do, Fort Collins acts as this single minded, closed off entity.”

Lotus Blossom said people have to be willing to speak about different spiritualities in order to cure ignorance.

“Educating and sharing with people is how we can stop the violence and the hatred,” said Lotus Blossom. “Things can change.”

Lotus Blossom said she believes it is her duty to answer questions to the best of her knowledge so that people don’t jump to conclusion about her spirituality.

By speaking to people, Brodsky is hoping that Fort Collins will gain a wider acceptance of religions.

Gray said spirituality is a journey — a way to grow and change.

“No one should be forced into it. Everyone has their own path to follow,” she said.

Staff writer Justyna Tomtas can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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