Campus ministries provide students with a support system for numerous things that can happen throughout their time at Texas A&M.
According to their website, the Campus Ministry Association is a collaborative organization of various faiths that provides pastoral care to students at A&M. With 16 different ministries, including St. Mary’s Catholic Center, Canterbury Episcopal Student Center and the Chabad Jewish Student Center, these off-campus organizations are open to students of all backgrounds. Ministers from each organization are available for appointments at All Faiths Chapel from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday throughout the semester.
Members of the Chabad Jewish Student Center, located on Live Oak Street behind Fuego Tortilla Grill, have been ministering to students at A&M for 11 years. Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff and his wife, Manya Lazaroff, said they find it rewarding to be able to minister to young people everyday at the center.
“Our goal was to cater to whatever the spiritual, material or physical need of the students,” Manya Lazaroff said. “It ranges from someone had a break up at 1 a.m. and bringing them chocolate to taking them to the emergency room when they need it. Whatever those needs are. We have kids that have had surgery and need a ride to class for a month. We’ll do whatever we can.”
Coming to A&M, Shayna Ambers, English freshman, said she assumed there wouldn’t be many Jewish students, but after visiting Chabad, she is thankful to have a home away from home.
“I assumed that going to college in the South, there wouldn’t be a strong Jewish presence and I was kind of nervous about that,” Ambers said. “After I found out about Chabad, I really never had a moment on campus or in College Station where I feel discriminated against or left out or something because of my faith.”
From providing students with moral support to kosher cooking on Thursday nights, Jessica Pasquale, health senior, said she is grateful to have finally found her niche in College Station.
“It’s really nice because it’s like a family, which is something I found hard to find my freshman year,” Pasquale said. “They have stuff going on every night. They cook like a four-course meal every Friday night. It’s so good.”
Raymond Barringer, English senior, said he has spent most of his college career at the Canterbury Episcopal Student Center. With his aunt being a student coordinator at Canterbury, Barringer said he was able to make a lot of relationships within the ministry.
“I am not an incredibly social person so a lot of my friends I met through the center,” Barringer said. “The [Canterbury] Episcopal student center is very community centered so we have a lot do with building relationships with each other. One of the way we have things set up is that we are completely unbiased about who comes in our service. You don’t have to be religious. You can just come in and have dinner with us. It's just a wonderful place to spend time with people.”
Growing up in the Episcopal church, Lillian Brannen, interdisciplinary studies senior, said the Aggie traditions coupled the traditions for the Episcopal church make her classes feel less stressful.
“The Canterbury house is just a great place to go,” Brannen said. “It’s really helpful and we have a whole bookcase of study materials where previous students leave their notes. I love that it is all students. We have such a friendship with each and it's not like a church environment, with the structure and everything. It's more relaxed and I love it.”