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Appalachian Spiritual Life Association

On any given evening you can walk through the Student Union and you will find large groups of students utilizing our largest meeting spaces to gather as faith based organizations. For some it is standing room only as they gather weekly to celebrate in community their faith in song, reflection and prayer. During the day it is not uncommon to walk through the Student Union and see many of our campus ministers and their team meeting in small groups or individually with our students.

During Welcome Weekend in August, prior to Club Fest, the Student Union opens early for the Appalachian Spiritual Life Fair where hundreds of Appalachian students come to the Union to seek out places and spaces in our community to grow in their faith and to continue or begin their spiritual journey. This event is open to all spiritually based organizations in our community, Christian or not. Often this event leads to an invite to food and fellowship at a local church or meeting space.

As Universities struggle with the great debate of should we or should we not be engaging with the spiritual or religious development of our students I believe our friends in Counseling and Wellness and Prevention would say yes. We know that the spiritual and religious beliefs and spiritual practices of our students plays a role in their psychological and physical well-being. As we continue as a Division to embrace diversity and inclusion, it is important that we as professionals recognize that freedom of religion and spiritual expression is just as important as freedom of speech. We also know that moral development occurs while students are learning and growing on our campus and that for many their faith based practices aids in their growth and understanding in this area.

Taken from the Appalachian State Wellness and Prevention website:

Spiritual Wellness is the intersection of an individual’s values and beliefs that provides them with an understanding of their purpose in life.

In the late 1980’s, our Dean of Students at that time Ms. Barbara Daye, met with a small group of Campus Ministers to talk about ways to support students and to address concerns students were experiencing on our campus. Today the Appalachian Spiritual Life Association (ASLA) exists to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the spiritual growth and development of students on the Appalachian campus, to foster relationships among spiritual leaders and to serve as a resource to the University. This groups meets monthly on their own and each semester with a representative from the Office of the Dean of Students. Currently Jim Musser, from Campus Christian Fellowship, is the convener of this group.

Should you have questions or would like to know more about ASLA contact Jim Musser at [email protected] or Judy Haas at [email protected].

Jan 23, 19