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UCCF Link-Up paves the way for new students

August 2011 | by Pod Bhogal

UCCF Link-Up paves the way for new students

Christian Unions exist to give every student on campus an opportunity to hear about the love of Jesus, shown in the gospel. They are also a great place for new students to be supported in their Christian faith and introduced to local churches.

Students heading to university for the first time can sometimes get lost in the crowd or feel overwhelmed by the pressures of life away from home.

Link-Up

Over the past five years, over 3000 students have taken advantage of UCCF’s Student Link-Up scheme to register their details with their campus CU, before they head off to university or college; and this year is no different.
    Right now, churches and schools workers are supporting school leavers by letting them know that they can get to know other Christians before even setting foot on campus — helping them to make friends, get involved in student mission and find a local church.
    Last summer, Lucy linked up with her CU before she started university. ‘I was given a CU member’s contact details and was able to message them, letting them know I was coming to Bournemouth’, she said. ‘This put me at ease, so that before I got to uni I had an idea of what it would be like’.
    Lucy is enthusiastic about the scheme: ‘It’s great that a fresher can get in contact with a CU member and ask them questions, so they get a good idea of what to expect. It also encourages CU members to pray for the freshers who are coming and get their contact details, so that they can encourage them to go to events’.

Make or break

It’s not just about new students getting in touch with their CU. Churches play a key part too. Wayne Dixon is a member of Slough Baptist Church and a Schools Development Worker for Scripture Union. He has been resourcing students with UCCF’s Student handbook and its equivalents for 15 years.
    ‘I order these books because I am very keen to help and support young Christians as they leave school and begin university. Potentially this can be a make or break time for students who are away from home, maybe for the first time. Faced with independence, challenges, changes and choices, this is a key time when faith is tested and challenged’.
    Wayne is positive about the value in looking after students as they leave for university. ‘I hope it shows the students that I care about them, even if they are no longer in the school that I visit.
    ‘It also helps create a link and starting point for them, and I think it’s great when CU representatives take the initiative and contact these freshers when they arrive’.

Help

How can you help new students? First, tell school leavers about UCCF Student Link-Up. Almost every university and college has a CU, so encourage young people to go to www.uccf.org.uk/freshers and register their details.
    They’ll be welcomed by a friendly face, have a platform to meet people quickly, and be introduced to local churches where they can be discipled and supported in their own outreach.
    Second, tell them to visit www.uccf.org.uk/freshers for helpful resources. There are loads of helpful video interviews about university life, church and being part of a CU. It’s also a place where ‘soon-to-be-freshers’ can find and contact their CU.
    And, third, give UCCF Student handbooks to school leavers. We’ve got a great handbook for how to get involved with CU life that doubles up as a recipe book.
    So young people can be kept both spiritually and physically well-fed! Order free copies from www.uccf.org.uk/freshers/church-leaders

Pod Bhogal
 Head of communications, UCCF: the Christian Unions