Spiritual health celebrated at fair

Ren Gennerman, Features Reporter

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Winona State University hosted a Spiritual Health Fair in the East Hall of Kryzsko Commons on Tuesday, Oct. 30. It was the second day in Warrior Wellness Week, a week run by Student Senate focusing on the major areas of health.

Remington Schmidt, a biochemistry major, was the main student contact for the event. While he was not representing a specific organization, he recognized the importance of spiritual health.

“A lot of people turn to their faith when they don’t have a lot of explanations for other things,” Schmidt said. “A lot of people get emotional comfort by feeling like there is someone else out there guiding their life.”

At the start of the fair, there were five different organizations represented.

The Newman Center, a Catholic diocese located across from Kryzsko Commons, featured representatives who talked about their plan to offer opportunities to students. Along with offering mission trips during spring and summer breaks, retreats and conferences, the organization was passionate about helping people grow in their relationship with Christ through prayer.

“Jesus Christ offers love and support that no other human on earth can offer,” a representative from the Newman Center said. “We want to share that with others.”

Chi Alpha, a prominent presence on campus, attended as well. The organization meets as a large group on Thursday nights, and offers small groups that meet throughout the week. At the fair, they were handing out bibles and passing out bookmarks that offer bible verses that align with specific emotions. They also offered a prayer box for students to submit to, which they would pray over that night.

Grant Reimer, a senior communications major, was passionate about promoting ministry, no matter where students are at in their spirituality.

“Whether people have grown up in the church or this is their first time being introduced to spirituality, we want to walk with them on their journey and help build their relationship with Christ,” Reimer said. “College is the most pivotal time in someone’s life. You are out there, getting your degree, trying to make decisions about your future job, maybe meet your future husband or wife here… Chi Alpha helps you decide where your value is and where you can find your identity in.”

Inter Varsity, a nondenominational Christian ministry, also attended. While they are small in numbers on campus, they are a part of a national organization. They recently sent a member to a conference in the Wisconsin Dells, as well as planned an outing to the local apple orchard.

Emily Tolliver, a senior biology major, described Inter Varsity as being open to everyone, even those questioning their faith, and are especially there to answer questions.

“When you come to college, you’re on your own, so that’s a great time to explore all parts of you and that includes your spirituality,” Tolliver said. “I think it’s good to give people a look into that to see if they want that in your life, and we offer some answers to those questions.”

Inter Varsity hosts bible study on Thursday nights.

The Lutheran Campus Center, which is on Huff Street and is attached to Mugby Junction, a local coffeeshop, were also at the fair. The center offers free dinner at 6 p.m. on Sunday nights, followed by worship at 7 p.m. Student leaders described the space as one that is good for questions, as well as for those who want to take their faith and put it towards bettering the community. In the past, students have planned carnivals and fall clean-ups.

True North was the last group represented at the fair. It is a Lutheran Campus ministry that meets once a week on Wednesday nights for an hour. During that hour, they offer bible study and discussion, as well as socializing and connection with members.

Celeste Werner, a nursing major, emphasized how much members try to support each other.

“We are a pretty small group, but we focus on really encouraging and supporting one another,” Werner said. “A lot of the time we focus on challenges we are facing that week and working through that…So much of health has a psychological side, and being emotionally and spiritually healthy is important, even if you don’t consider yourself religious.”

Overall, Werner said the club wants to be a presence on campus and encourage how it is a great way to meet similar people.

Though the Spiritual Health Fair only featured Christian-based organizations, there are other faith-based organizations on campus. The Muslim Student Association did not have representatives in attendance, however, they have a Facebook group that can provide more information on their group.