In 2011, 21 million people were enrolled in degree-granting institutions in the USA.* Approximately half of the enrollees were between 18 and 24 years old, representing 42% of that age cohort.* So, college campuses are a concentrated place for young adults. That’s why many religious organizations organize a young adult outreach on college campuses. The Catholic Church is no different.
In Tulsa County, there were 38,694 people enrolled in college or graduate school.** Following nationwide statistics, approximately half of those were 18-24 years old. The Newman Center on The University of Tulsa campus is available to minister to all college students in the Tulsa area. Through the Newman Center, The William K. Warren Foundation helps prepare college students for a life of faith and service to others. Peer ministries, faith formation, religious retreats, community service events, Mass, and counseling come together at the Newman Center to help students grow in their faith while they develop intellectually, socially, emotionally, and culturally.
*U.S. Department of Education, 2013
**U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, 2012
"Angie" (name changed to ensure privacy) is a current student at The University of Tulsa majoring in Liberal Arts. She was born in Asia as a Buddhist, and her family moved to the USA when she was young. Her parents never emphasized religion in the household, so she never had any education of religion. Growing up, Angie participated in a variety of different activities, and she says there was always one common theme among all the activities she did: "They only gave me temporary happiness; but, what I needed most in my life was eternal happiness and eternal peace."
Going into her freshman year of college, the very first person that she met (after her roommate) was "Debbie," a FOCUS missionary, who worked at the Newman Center. She introduced Angie to the Catholic faith, showing her what it meant to be a Catholic; what it meant to believe and to be a part of one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church; and how, by living out the faith and living out a Christian life, a person can find the eternal peace and happiness for which she was searching. Because of the help Angie received from Debbie, the priests, and friends from the Newman Center, and most importantly from the help of God himself, she became baptized and confirmed.
When she went home for the summer, she gave her testimony to several local parishes. Angie says, "It's been an amazing start to my pilgrimage, and I thank you (the Foundation and others) for supporting the Newman Center and for supporting students who are on fire for the Lord."