In a few short weeks, nearly 10,000 new students will arrive on campus at UW-Madison as undergraduate and graduate students. This year, UW-Madison received a record number of applications and had the most selective admissions process in its history.
Students will come to Madison from all across the country and globe. Over half will come from out of state, and nearly 1 in 10 will come from other countries. About one in six will be a first-generation college student. Around a third will be students of color, and nearly a fifth will identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
What all of these students have in common is that they will be seeking welcome, a sense of belonging, and meaningful connections that will support them through the joys and challenges of their years on campus.
For some, Lutheran Campus Ministry will become the primary place where they experience a sense of belonging and connection. Here, they will make friends, laugh, play, study, and debate. More importantly, they will also experience God’s presence in the midst of hectic campus life and receive God’s grace in tangible ways from their peers and the church.
Just as the UW-Madison student population continues to grow in its diversity, our community here at LCM is becoming more diverse. A growing number of students come from different denominations and religious traditions, and many come with no significant faith experience at all.
In this issue, you’ll learn from Daniel Kirschbaum, Program Director for Young Adult Ministry in the ELCA, about how their experience of feeling safe and affirmed at Lutheran Campus Ministry nurtured their sense of calling to work in the church and equipped them to continue the ELCA’s mission of reaching out to newer, younger, and more diverse Christians.
Daniel was a part of our student leadership team and Board of Directors when LCM adopted its current Organizational Values in 2016. The first three of our seven values speak directly to what Daniel experienced at LCM and desired all students to experience: Inclusivity, Hospitality, and Inquiry.
Our value of inclusivity speaks to our belief that God has created humankind with beautiful diversity and desires the church to be as diverse as God’s creation.
Our value of hospitality reminds us that each of us has been welcomed by Christ—welcomed in both our beauty and our brokenness—and we have been called to extend that hospitality to others.
Our value of inquiry reminds us to be humble. We recognize that doubt is a part of the life of faith and that we can learn from one another’s experiences and perspectives.
As I look forward to the beginning of another school year, I am grateful to God for this place. For the sense of safety, belonging, and grace that students experience as a part of this ministry. Thank you for your ongoing interest in and support for Lutheran Campus Ministry.
Rev. Emily Tveite, Director & Campus Pastor
You can learn more about LCM’s organizational values at: lcmmadison.org/about-us.