The Effects of Religious Involvement on Hope College Freshmen’s Sense of Connection to the College Community
Dr. J. Roselyn Lee, Hope College
For incoming freshmen, friends, extra-curricular activities, and habits are all set in place within their first few months of college, which has critical influence on their college career. Considering this, colleges make efforts to make freshmen feel more connected to their community by offering various activities in which their freshmen can participate. At Hope College, the College Campus Ministries have made a significant amount of efforts to provide students with opportunities to engage themselves in campus-organized religious activities as a way to fulfill the college’s mission “to promote faithful leadership and grateful service as manifestations of Christian commitment.” In the present study, we investigate the effects of freshmen’s involvement in campus-organized religious activities on their feelings of connection to Hope College. In particular, we focus on the following three aspects: (1) sense of connection to upperclassmen, (2) sense of connection to campus ministry staff, and (3) overall satisfaction with Hope College. Our data collected from an online survey with 210 freshmen (59 males, 151 females) at Hope show that freshmen’s involvement with campus-organized religious activities has positive associations with their sense of connection to upperclassmen and campus ministry staff. The data further reveal that religious involvement also has a positive association with freshmen’s overall satisfaction with the college. Our research suggests that participation in campus-organized religious activities may be beneficial to freshmen as the involvement could help them establish sense of connection to the college community through strengthening ties with upperclassmen and campus ministry staff members. In addition, the positive association between freshmen’s religious involvement and overall satisfaction with the college points to the vital role played by campus-organized religious activities in students’ subjective well-being.
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