Tips for Parents
Spirituality on Campus: The Search for Meaning & Purpose
What are students experiencing spiritually on campus these days? According to a multi-year project by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI), today's college students report high levels of spiritual interest and involvement. Over 112,000 U.S. undergraduate students were studied and findings point to many being actively engaged in the search for meaning and purpose. In addition, many are also very involved in religion as students reported a significant commitment to their religious beliefs and practices.
Recent Trends in Students' Experience of Spirituality
In a nutshell, here's what the study found…
Spiritual Search and Religious Engagement
College students report high levels of spirituality and idealism. They espouse many spiritual and religious values and virtues.
Measuring Spirituality and Religiousness
Spirituality and religiousness are multi-dimensional, [students] find expression in a variety of beliefs and everyday practices.
Political Orientation and Attitudes
While there is a political divide on some issues between students at different levels of spirituality and religious engagement, there is also convergence on a number of social concerns and on the ideals, virtues and values that students espouse.
Spirituality, Religiousness and Well-Being
While spirituality and religiousness generally relate to physical well-being, the relationships with psychological health are nuanced and complex.
There is a wealth of diversity in students' religious beliefs and practices.
No matter how your student experiences spirituality, chances are that he is searching for meaning and purpose during his time on campus. You can encourage him to explore various spiritual avenues, whether it's attending interfaith services, checking out various campus speakers, participating in a residence hall program or talking with others on campus. And try to be open about these conversations with your student, too, even if you disagree at times. It's all part of his growth on the path to a more enlightened self-awareness — and life.
Source: From the executive summary of The Spiritual Life of College Students: A National Study of College Students' Search for Meaning and Purpose, Higher Education Research Institute, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California at Los Angeles, www.spirituality.ucla.edu (2006).
From an article by Mary Ann Hanicak, Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs, John Carroll University (OH)
Prepared for our institution by PaperClip Communications, www.paper-clip.com.
Copyright 2006, 125 Paterson Ave., Little Falls, NJ 07424