This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Questions &Answers

Published: March 10, 2005

Dalene M. Aylward is convener of the Campus Ministries Association. She also serves as a religious advisor/campus minister for the Living Water Campus Ministry, co-chair of the Religion Subcommittee of the UB Diversity Committee and a senior academic advisor for the UB Scholars Program in the Office of Student Advising Services.

What is the mission of Campus Ministries?
The mission of the Campus Ministries Association (CMA) is to serve the students, faculty and staff within the university community. The various organizations within CMA provide a means for worship of the numerous faiths and traditions.

What groups and denominations are served?
The faiths served are Baha'i, Christianity, Jehovah's Witnesses, Judaism and Unitarian-Universalism. The denominations within Christianity are Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Evangel, Lutheran, Methodist, Orthodox, Presbyterian and Wesleyan. We have one multidenominational organization and 15 nondenominational organizations. Our Web site at lists all of the organizations and their contact information

What is the role of Campus Ministries at a public university?
At a public university, the role of CMA is vital. As part of campus life, ministries provide an avenue for students to engage in aspects of learning outside the classroom—not only in the dynamics of belonging to a small group of individuals in the midst of a large university campus, nor solely in the advantages of gaining leadership experience and becoming open to diverse backgrounds of all kinds. The typical college student is at a point in his development where he is asking such questions as: "What are my values and goals?" "What is my calling?" (which easily can be connected with "What should I major in?" and "What will my future career be?") and finally, most importantly: "Who am I?" Exploring oneself to answer these questions is facilitated with the meaning and purpose found in one's faith. Following one's faith leads to establishing one's spiritual identity and answers these burning questions for the students.

What kind of relationship does Campus Ministries have with the university?
As convener, I serve as liaison to the university through the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. CMA is made up entirely of volunteers from the individuals' churches, temples or governing organizations, though most have formal training and/or are ordained. Due to the separation of church and state, as religious organizations we are not hired by, nor funded by, the university. Therefore, our relationship to the university is one of mutual understanding and cooperation. We keep communication open and have established a positive working relationship.

Do you see more students, faculty and staff gravitating toward the nondenominational ministries instead of the more traditional denominations?
As far as I can tell, although I do not have specific figures, I do believe that more students, faculty and staff are gravitating towards nondenominational ministries. In the past several years, CMA has grown to 30 organizations, half of which are "nondenoms." I also have begun to see many students participating in multiple ministries. For example, a student may go to a prayer meeting with one group, a bible study with another and then a Sunday worship service of yet another. Students seem to be very open to new experiences, learning about others' traditions and meeting new people. Students are creating bridges across the various organizations. I like to see that.

Is Campus Ministries sponsoring any special events for the upcoming Easter season?
CMA as a whole is not sponsoring any special events for Easter, simply because not all organizations within CMA celebrate Easter. However, many of our ministries are having special Passover, Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday services and we encourage and support one another. I suggest visiting our Web site for contact information and links to the organizations' sites and schedules.

What question do you wish I had asked, and how would you have answered it?
What does the future hold for CMA? I see CMA continuing to grow exponentially. With religious pluralism growing in world events, I think we will see a desperate need for understanding various religious cultures more so than in the past or present. Also, I believe that with the Jewish, Christian and Muslim worlds clashing in political arenas, there is a cry on campus for unity and peace. CMA strives to educate on diversity and tolerance, while at the same time one can celebrate one's own beliefs. Because we support and encourage one another, we will reach more students, and we will grow.