Mar 242005
 
Authors: Megan Schulz

Kholood Habiballa, a freshman open-option major, feels safer, despite some racism, to express her religious beliefs at CSU than in high school.

"Maybe it's peer pressure," said Habiballa. "I didn't feel comfortable expressing myself as much (in high school)."

Entering college can represent a change in lifestyle for many students. This change in lifestyle can also mean a change in religious and spiritual values and practices.

"Certainly in our culture, (college) is a time where life development and re-examination occurs," said Cindy Swindell a University Counseling Center psychologist. "Changes, at least temporary changes, are likely."

Habiballa, who works as an office manager at the Muslim Student Association, has seen these changes in her own life when she came to CSU. She wears an abaya, a traditional loose black robe worn by Muslim women that covers the body from head to toe. In high school she did not wear it.

While she said most people are nice about the fact that she wears an abaya, about a month ago a man confronted her and a friend and made racist comments toward her.

"It (can be) kind of scary," Habiballa said. "(But) my religious perspectives have only gotten stronger. I have more time for myself to think about what path I should take."

Swindell said counselors at the UCC are open to discussing spiritual issues with students who seek advice.

"I am one of the a few counselors with a special interest in spirituality of a person's development," Swindell said. "(There is) a willingness with asking students if there are any spiritual resources they can utilize with spiritual dilemmas. There are some students who request to speak to someone who shares that background."

Swindell personally thinks that spirituality is a larger concept than religion, but emphasizes that it is not her role at the university to be a spiritual guide or counselor. She just holds interest in the topic.

Hillel president Kayla Brummett found that her religious practices changed in a positive way after she came to CSU.

"I was raised Jewish but I wasn't what you would call very religious until I came to CSU," said Brummett, a junior English education major. "My religious practices became more abundant."

Brummett said she heard about Hillel, the Jewish student organization on campus, while attending Preview(do you want to explain this to our non-college students?) and thought it sounded like a good way to get involved.

"What initially brought me in was meeting the people," Brummett said. "In high school I was one of seven (Jewish) students. (But at service here) I know that there will be people there my age."

She said another advantage of living in a college town is that services are generally geared toward topics the students will like. She thinks it will be helpful to students of any denomination to check out different groups on campus.

"I was a resident assistant for over a year and a half," Brummett said. "I found that for some of my residents, it was helpful that they could experience different things."

Jon Dodson, an intern at United Campus Ministry, said in college he applied religious knowledge instead of just memorizing it, but also sometimes finds it harder to attend church because his parents are not making him go.

"It kind of goes along with the change in educational perspective," said Dodson, a senior forestry management student. "When I came to college, I know what the Bible says now. But it was definitely harder (to attend weekly service). I think some of the reasons for that was a sense of finding my spirituality more in a sense of community of friends."

Dodson has attended several different services and seen a variety of styles.

"Some services are directly oriented to the college population, and some services have been more of the traditional-style services," Dodson said.

Whatever a student's religious beliefs may be, a wide variety of organizations exist in the CSU community. A list of religious and spiritual organizations can be found at www.spiritual/colostate.edu.

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