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What Do We Know About UU Campus Ministry?

Posted by Annie Gonzalez Milliken // August 8th 2014 // Guides and Tools, On Campus // no comments

 We’ve got data from our Spring 2014 Survey!

In the spring of 2014 the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries ran a campus ministry groups census to track how many campus ministry groups we have and what they are up to. What we found wasn’t too surprising, but was definitely interesting!

Our UU campus ministry groups are small, and tend to reach a fair amount of people who are brand new to Unitarian Universalism. They focus primarily on small group ministry, while a smaller chunk of our groups also engage in worship, interfaith work and service or justice projects. They tend to be connected to local UU congregations in some form, and often received some funding or significant support from their local congregation. They are usually publicized by the school as one of the religious options on campus, but are less likely to receive funding or significant support from their school. A good chunk of our groups do participate in some type of interfaith leaders council on campuses, however.

Here’s a breakdown by the numbers –

– There are 44 different campus ministry groups represented by 59 responses to the survey (many groups had multiple members fill out the survey).

– The average group has 10 active members who are regularly involved with the group.

– The average group reached 30 students this year through email lists, facebook groups or campus events.

– There was a total outreach to 1,155 different students who were exposed to UU campus ministry this year on these 44 campuses through email lists, facebook groups or campus events.

– On average about half of the students in these campus ministries were involved in UU before college and half have learned about UU through these campus ministries.

UU campus group activities

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UU campus connection graph


So what did we learn?

We probably have more than the 44 groups who responded, but even so, there are over 7,000 post-secondary institutions in the United States, meaning we have UU campus ministries on less than 1% of college and university campuses. Our groups are important: they provide spiritual and emotional support to small groups of students through small group ministry and also expose even more students to the life-giving message of Unitarian Universalism. Right now our groups tend to receive more support from their local congregations than from their schools, which means our congregations have crucial roles to play in starting and sustaining UU campus ministries. In terms of what kind of support the groups would like from the UUA, the most common requests were publicity materials (banners and brochures) and connections with other local UU groups (congregations, other campus ministries, etc.)

If you’re looking to start or further support a campus ministry please be in touch with Annie Gonzalez at agonzalez@uua.org for ideas, advice and support.  You can also check out the resources on our campus ministry website such as the Levels of Engagement Guide for congregations.
Make sure you check for area groups on the HubMap and follow CampusUUs on Facebook to stay in the loop!

About the Author

Annie is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister and currently serves our faith as the Young Adult and Campus Ministry Associate for the Unitarian Universalist Association.
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