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Finding God: Discovering faith in college

Sep 19 • Finding God on Gannon's Campus, Top Stories • 79

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When I originally came to Gannon, I didn’t think the fact that it’s a “Catholic University” would mean so much to me. In fact, I wasn’t even Catholic at the time.
I was still in the process of searching for and finding my faith. I was completely unaware that this university would offer so much in the aspect of faith and the community that lies within that.
Not a lot of colleges make it part of their mission to set up an environment that not only facilitates the best possible learning experience, but also strives to facilitate the best possible faith experience. I believe Gannon does an excellent job at both.
Obviously, Gannon and the surrounding Erie community offer a lot of opportunities to explore your faith or find it if you’re searching or unsure. There are so many churches in the area, including our chapel right on campus, as well as clubs, events and organizations on campus that offer a multitude of different aspects of faith, such as worship, Bible study, discussion, prayer, service and so much more.
The fact that we even have these opportunities at Gannon is unique and amazing in and of itself, but it’s also the main reason that I believe Gannon does such an excellent job at creating an environment where students can openly discuss faith and religion.
This university puts a huge emphasis on faith and what it means, and goes above and beyond in the way of providing opportunities for students. It can frequently become a topic of discussion among students or faculty. In providing these things and being so open about faith itself, Gannon is creating a certain space where students have the freedom to talk about their individual beliefs and experiences.
I’ve always felt comfortable and safe talking about my faith here at Gannon, from the time I started school and was entirely unsure in what I believed in, to now, as a Catholic, continuing to dive deeper into my faith every day.
I’ve had many conversations with many students on varying beliefs about our experiences, similarities and differences. I’ve started conversations, I’ve had other faculty and staff start conversations with me and I’ve always been able to appreciate a mutual respect and understanding within these conversations that allows them to take place. I think a strong reason for that is the way this university is so open and welcoming to all students when it comes to sharing faith, as a Catholic university.
That’s definitely something that is unique and special about this school, and sets it apart from other universities. I know that religion and faith are topics of discussion that can frequently be avoided in conversations because it’s something that’s so important to the individual and we can hold such strong beliefs and have differences within them, whether that be entirely different beliefs or a simple different in preference of worship. However, due to this incredibly open environment, Gannon steps away from that and encourages discussion.
For me, finding God on Gannon’s campus wouldn’t have been possible without it. So, for that and this entire faith journey and experience and my ability to share it with others as they share their stories with me, I am extremely grateful.
GRACE DENNIS
dennis005@knights.gannon.edu

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