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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Cru convenes for Christ


With schoolwork, club meetings, sporting events, social outings and part-time jobs, it's easy for college students to forget about maintaining their religion. The Campus Crusade for Christ, also known as Buffalo Crusade or Cru, is an interdenominational Christian ministry that provides a fellowship for students to come together and share their faith in Jesus Christ.

Amy Gray, a staff member for Cru, said that the group allows for students to learn about the bible and how to strengthen their relationship with Christ.

"We encourage students to not have Campus Crusade replace their church," Gray said. "Overall we want to grow in a deeper relationship with Christ."

The group meets every Thursday night at 8:15 p.m. in 322 Millard Fillmore Complex, where they sing songs, read the bible, discuss upcoming events and share stories and the experiences of Christ.

Four times a year, there are opportunities for the members to attend conferences throughout the world. The seasonal conferences are weeklong events where students gather for a series of guest speeches about Christ, group bonding events, Bible studies, and evangelistic activities.

During the fall conference, Cru traditionally travels to the Finger Lakes for a retreat with several other local colleges, including Daemen, Houghton, Buffalo State and Canisius.

Sarah Ajaeb, a junior mechanical engineering major, said she enjoys bonding with the students from the other schools, with whom she's able to keep in touch after each retreat.

"You divide into groups with different people from all the campuses," Ajaeb said. "We listen to speakers and then discuss it with members from the other campuses. Retreats are a bonding experience."

Cru annually travels to Boston for a winter conference. The participants in the Boston conference range from local colleges to others from the all over northeast.

"We went on the streets of Boston and took community-needs surveys and helped connect people with local churches," Gray said.

In a past spring retreat, Cru traveled to New Orleans over spring break to perform community service.

"Going to New Orleans was awesome," said Colleen Quinn, a junior biomedical science major. "It was a good way to get to know people and it was good to go and help. We all had a common purpose- to help New Orleans."

Lenore Dunnah, a junior civil engineering major, said that one of her favorite aspects of Cru is the opportunity to do community service, along with meeting new people.

"We're a group of college students who know how to have fun without partying," she said.

During this year's spring break, Cru will be traveling to Panama City for a conference and to enjoy the beaches while talking about Jesus.

For their summer retreats, Cru has traveled to such locations as Vail, Colorado; Yellowstone National Park; Wildwood, New Jersey; Acadia National Park, New York City; Rome, Italy, and Uganda.

"We basically want an environment for growth," Gray said. "It is an opportunity to be in a new environment around other people who want to grow."

Since the Student Association does not fund Cru, financing for trips is raised through hosting fellowship dinner events and local donations.

According to Gray, students do not need to be members of Cru in order to travel to the conferences. A student can join or participate at any time and can decide their own level of involvement and participation with the group.

"They don't make you do anything," said Anna Deskov, a junior exercise science major. "It just gives opportunities to share faith and become closer with God."

Even non-believers are able to participate in the weekly meetings, according to Quinn.

"We love to have discussions and we do not oppose people who don't believe," Quinn said. "We love to have people who come to ask questions or who are just curious."

Dunnah said that she has friends who are not Christians that still come to the meetings to hear the speakers and listen to the music.

"Some people come because they don't know what it is and what we are about. Others already enter as Christians," Deskov said.

Gray said that it is the perfect group for students to join if they are looking for a way to get involved on campus, to meet new people and to experience a safe environment. Most importantly, she went on, it is a great way for students to maintain and grow their relationship with God.

"I really love the friendships and having friends that encourages faith," Quinn said.

Members of the group are from wide varieties of Christian denominations, including Catholicism, Protestantism, Lutheranism and nondenominational Christians.

"People hear Campus Crusade and they think of some extreme Christian group," Ajaeb said. "It is really a group that is open to all people and all different religions."

For further information on upcoming retreats, check out the group's Web site at www.buffalocrusade.com.





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