By Alyssa Pflug
A new Christian group is hoping to reach out to more students at Youngstown State University.
Coalition for Christian Outreach is part of a larger organization based out of Pittsburgh, PA. They are reaching out to campuses throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia in an attempt to bring their motto — “transform college students to transform the world” — to life.
Andrew Stauffer, CCO’s non-campus adviser, outlined their efforts.
“At this point [I’m] developing relationships with people that I kind of already knew on campus because I’ve been in this area for a while being a youth pastor,” he said.
Paige Baker, president of CCO for YSU, talked about the things she’s been able to do through CCO, including traveling to Ocean City, Maryland to congregate with 20 members from several campuses.
“It’s a really cool experience and just to see what God can do in every part of your life, even your major,” Baker said. “Because in academics it’s really hard to see God, so it’s really important to start somewhere with it.”
Baker said she thinks the group will become important for students who moved away from their church communities to go to college.
“They don’t have that group, that core community, anymore,” Baker said. “So when they find this on campus that’s where they can grow fellowship and have something to turn to and build their life around.”
When it comes to Christian groups on college campuses, Baker said students are often scared to join for fear of being judged.
“[Students worry] they won’t be welcomed in for who they are,” she said. “We’re a group. You come as you are and God will do the work.”
Mike Reagle, associate vice president of Student Success, is serving as the group’s campus adviser. He said he thinks that CCO will be a good addition to YSU.
“Anytime we have a new group of students who organize around a particular area of interest, it is good for the university” Reagle said. “Students need places where they can be connected to other students who share similar values, experiences or interests.”
Baker said it can be hard to maintain Christian values in a college atmosphere.
“You go to college of course to get your academics but you have to live the young life of partying, sex and, you know, stuff like that,” Baker said.
Reagle said he’s thrilled that the group is on campus.
“The spiritual journey is incredibly important to many YSU students,” he said. “And I’m grateful to be a part of it!”
As spring 2017 semester starts, CCO will be holding regular meetings on Mondays from 4-6 p.m. in the Bresnahan Suite in Kilcawley Center.