Many students use their college years to figure out who they are and who they want to be. This can encompass careers, work ethics and even spirituality.
InterVarsity is a national Christian fellowship on college campuses. It is not a church organization, but an interdenominational auxiliary group open to any interested.
InterVarsity is part of Weber State University’s clubs and organizations. Large group meetings are held every Thursday in the Shepherd Union Wildcat Theater at 8 p.m.
Kristin McCarthy, a campus staff member with InterVarsity, said the fellowship’s main focus is small-group scripture study. Several group meetings are held each week.
“Our main focus is getting students in the Bible and studying the scripture and things like that,” McCarthy said.
Michelle Frias, a psychology major at WSU, is also a student leader with InterVarsity. She said Bible study is typically separated into groups of a dozen people.
“That’s where your true spiritual growth happens, because you’re in a small setting and you’re able to pretty much just create this little family with your small group, and it’s really cool,” Frias said.
Bible studies are put on by students from different departments at WSU. These are designed to help students relate to the Bible with peers and their differing life situations.
“We’re all studying the gospel of Matthew, but the students that are leading the studies are in the arts, or athletes, or whatever,” McCarthy said. “So they know how to say, like, ‘Hey, how do we see this apply to our lives?'”
The small groups print out the selection to be discussed on printer paper, which means everybody is reading from the same copy. This also means students don’t need to own a Bible to join in.
Michael Vazquez is a senior at WSU in political science and Spanish literature. He hosts small group meetings in his apartment at University Village on Tuesday nights. They meet in Room 5103 at 7:30 p.m. Vazquez said he got involved with InterVarsity after he was invited to a large group meeting last year.
“And that first large group rocked my world,” he said. “It changed my world entirely.”
Vazquez said InterVarsity helps people find a relationship with Jesus Christ, who Christians believe to be the son of God and savior of the world. He said this can help people come to terms with their past or get through hardships.
During the first week of school, InterVarsity had a booth set up on campus that they called the proxy station.
“I feel like when we do the proxy station, we’re just kind of inviting the opportunity for students to join the discussion,” said Cindy Fjell — or “Fiji,” as the students call her —InterVarsity’s team leader at WSU, “as opposed to, like, ‘You’re awful people and going to Hell,’ you know. I don’t think that’s true and I don’t think that’s right to say.”
Fjell said InterVarsity focuses on invitations to learn as opposed to open-air preaching.
“I don’t feel like that’s something that’s super effective,” Fjell said. “I like inviting people to question, like, ‘Why do you believe what you believe? Let’s respect each other’s belief, but do you know why you believe what you believe, or have you been doing something that you’ve been told to do your whole life?’”
Fjell said she believes God isn’t afraid of questions, but welcomes them.
“You can be devil’s advocate if you want to,” McCarthy said. “We actually encourage that. We want students to feel like they can come and ask questions; they can come and be curious.”
McCarthy said WSU’s InterVarsity group gets together with other chapters from colleges in Utah and Idaho for area-wide activities. She said when she came to WSU five years ago, the regular InterVarsity group consisted of 5-10 people. Now, she said, more than 100 students are regularly involved.
InterVarsity teams up with other groups on campus for activities.
“We love Weber State,” Fjell said. “So we go to a lot of athletic events, we go to a lot of events that Senate puts on, or the RAs put on — we’re partnering with them to do a movie on the lawn. We like having fun; we like doing things together.”
McCarthy said those activities aren’t gospel presentations; they do them just for fun.
InterVarsity has a Facebook page called Intervarsity @Weber State. All students are welcome to join InterVarsity’s activities and meetings.