Starting small to change something big

Local faith communities reach out to students on campus in hopes of helping them stick to their faith.

Julie Jackson, content editor

It seems that Jan. 1 is the reset button for people across the globe.  Whether they are resetting spending habits, organization methods, health habits or beliefs, people are rewiring their minds in hopes of living a different life.

A new year also brings new hope to our country and to countries around the globe. January of 2018 is the inaugural year of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, promoted by President Trump.

This growing movement started off small with an organization that created the End It Movement, which is a group of organizations that raises awareness for sex slavery. It is now recognized by millions and is stirring in the lives of many college students around campuses.

IU Southeast students and CRU members serve the community at their day of serve outreach event.
Left, front to back: Ally Lindley, Caleb Jackson, Britney Miller.
Right, front to back: Josh Fink, Zack Sanders, Michael Kraus, Randall D’Cruz, Brittany Wilson, Baylee Stewart, Michala Beasley.

There is a specific group at IU Southeast that helps students stick to their beliefs and get involved with national movements like the End IT Movement. CRU, a local and national faith based community group planted at colleges around the nation, began at IU Southeast in Aug. 2017 by University of Louisville student Zack Sanders.  The group meets weekly on campus on Tuesdays, as well as gathering off campus in meetings called connect groups which meet on Thursdays.

“The idea is to get students apart of a community where they can stick to their faith.  A majority of college students fall away from their faith during college because of the business it brings,” Sanders said. “Our goal is to encourage students to stick to their faith and bring people to Christ.”

The group also gets involved in the community by going out and serving people in southern Indiana.

“Sometimes we take care packages to houses in the local area and sometimes we partner with local churches to help with building projects,” Sanders said.

The group gets involved with national projects. Individually, members of CRU, and the organization itself, partners with global missionaries and national movements like the End It Movement and other groups who raise awareness to sex slavery like Scarlett Hope based in Louisville.

The Return

Just one exit down form IU Southeast is a church called Northside that also reaches out to college students on campus and encourages them to get involved like CRU.

Ben Woods is the college ministry leader for the group, The Return. Woods creates an atmosphere that welcomes students who are new to the idea of faith.

One thing I’ve learned is that people don’t remember dates or times, but they remember food”

— Ben Woods

“Our biggest thing is that we want to create authentic community and naturally, authentic community invites people to connect,” Woods said.

Every year, The Return has gatherings like canoe trips and bonfires that welcomes students all around Kentuckiana  Woods says the struggle is creating gatherings for students that not only are college students, but have several jobs and outside activities because of the community college atmosphere.

“We recognize that most of those connected tous, because it’s a commuter mindset, don’t see themselves as a college student first. They’re taking classes but they are working one or two or three jobs,” Woods said. “To give up time and a night for these students is asking a lot for them so all of the gatherings we do are to cater to those who can’t attend the normal meeting every week.”

At all of the gatherings and trips, The Return always welcomes people with food.

“One thing I’ve learned is that people don’t remember dates or times, but they remember food,” Woods said.

Joel Murphy, special education senior, started attending The Return three years ago.  

“I don’t remember the exact date I went to The Return, but I do remember going because my friend Barber said it was bacon night,” Murphy said.

Since that day, Murphy has been involved in the college group.

“I am forever grateful for Ben taking the step of faith to plant the seed of The Return,” Murphy said.

The Return not only offers food for every gathering for  students, but the ministry encourages their students and peers to attend an annual conference called Passion.


Passion makes a move

Formed in 1997 by Louie Giglio, the conference welcomes students from ages 18 to26. It is held in Texas, Georgia and Washington D.C., has over 20,000 attendees at every venue and focuses on strengthening faith with God.

Passion also gets students involved in  mission acts across the world, allowing them to make a change in today’s society. One cause which raises awareness about an issue in today’s society is call the End It Movement. The cause is comprised of seven nonprofit organizations, aiming to shine a light on modern-day slavery. This movement shines and raises awareness of human trafficking and awakening our nation and the world to the reality of slavery.

The End It Movement declared Feb. 22 as shine a light on slavery day. To raise awareness, the movement asked the anti trafficking community and its followers to shine a light on slavery by drawing a red X on hands. That red X means that slavery still exists and that it needs to be stopped. Not only will there be X’s on the hands of millions, but there will be social media posts steeling the light of timelines acress all outlets.

In Dec. 2016, Sen. Bob Corker announced passage of his bipartisan initiative to end modern slavery worldwide. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 (NDAA) passed the Senate and includes authorizing legislation for the End of Modern Slavery Initiative. The initiative helps establish a powerful effort in partnering with the private sector and foreign governments to eliminate modern slavery and human trafficking around the globe.

In Feb.2017, President Trump signed the bill and since, proclaimed Jan.2018 National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

When faith communities like CRU of IU Southeast reach out to college students, those students get involved. When they get involved, they attend conferences like Passion. When they attend conferences like Passion, they hear about movements like the End It Movement. When they hear about the End It Movement, they give and help raise awareness. When they raise awareness for the End It Movement, it becomes so large that President Trump, cannot ignore that cause so he passes a bill.  That bill passed in 2017 is to end the very thing that started with a faith based community reaching out to one student on one campus.