This institution prides itself on its Christian values and emphasizes the impact that students can make on the world as young adults.
The campus is labeled as “Baptist,” but the university embraces thousands of students of diverse backgrounds.
The student handbook says that the university prepares students to make a global, positive impact on the world through its “Baptist vision.”
Sophomore organismal biology major Mike Kroll is Jewish and said that the people on campus have been very accepting and welcoming of his different beliefs.
Kroll’s stand-up comedy routine includes Jewish humor, but he is a regular performer and fan favorite at Open Mic Night.
His comedy routine and sense of humor have allowed him to have a positive outlook toward people who are critical of his faith.
He said, “It keeps me strong in the face of animosity, even though I have not faced too many hard things on campus.”
Kroll urges students to “get involved in the other religions, even if it is just a basic knowledge, so that you can strengthen your own faith. It helps you improve as a person.”
Sophomore cell biology major Annjelica Madali is Catholic and has encountered discrimination at times because of her beliefs.
“Some people are really nice about it and then, of course, there are some that are completely ignorant of the fact that other religions do exist,” she said.
Madali also believes that a diverse religion base on campus is beneficial to the student body.
She said, “It’s extremely important to have different religions on campus, so that people can learn to not be so close-minded to different ideas and beliefs.”
Senior education major Amanda Foss has attended several different types of churches.
“I don’t think people think of me any differently knowing that I am or was one denomination or the other,” she said. “I like all three denominations that I have been a part of and love worshiping at all of the different kinds of services.”
For the most part, the view on campus is one of acceptance and finding the things each faith shares.
Foss said, “I really think we all need to focus on what we have in common among all the different denominations of Christians, rather than focusing on all the differences.”
To many students on campus, faith is the cornerstone of who they are and what they do.
“My faith affects all of my life. It’s the foundation of who I am, and it impacts the way I try to live my life from day to day,” Foss said.
The composition of the student body consists of people of different backgrounds, religions and denominations.
The most populated group is Baptists, holding 46 percent of students on campus which is equal to 1,253 people.
Catholic students make up roughly 13 percent of the student body, with people claiming “no preference” and “other Protestant” following closely behind with 10 and 9 percent, respectively.
Among the lower populations, the Jewish community consists of two people, holding .07 percent of the campus make-up, and the Mormon community with three people, which is a slightly larger .11 percent.
The university encourages differences in denomination in order to have a diverse student body and provide groups the opportunity to learn about one another.
Mark Twain said of diversity, “We have become not a melting pot, but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.”
Foss believes that, though students have different religions, the main goals should be the same.
She said, “My purpose is to show others that, truthfully, God is all around us, here and now, and that He longs to meet us where we are with compassion and mercy.”