A UIC junior entering into her second semester of nursing school, Lauren discovered Newman when she needed somewhere to go to Mass during her freshman year. “Everyone was so welcoming and supportive, and I found myself attending Bible studies and events.” It didn’t take long after that for Lauren to feel called to step up into leadership. “Since Newman made such a big impact on my relationship with Jesus, I wanted to get involved to help others experience that too.”
As a sophomore, Lauren not only attended a Bible study but also served as secretary of the Cor Team and Head Student Barista at Cor Coffee in addition to volunteering as a lector and usher at Mass. She sees the Cor Team as the role requiring the biggest investment, because to her, the Cor Team is the “group of students leaders responsible for carrying out the mission of Newman through events, fellowship, liturgical life, and Cor Coffee.” Meeting weekly, those on the team work together to create opportunities for students to grow in faith and fellowship, like the Fall Fest hosted in October. “That event was a lot of work to plan and execute all the activities like a haunted hallway, but seeing so many people enjoying it, especially new students who weren’t involved at Newman was so fulfilling and made it all worth it.”
As Head Student Barista last year at Cor Coffee, Lauren went from having “no experience with coffee” to crafting new drink flavors and coaching her fellow baristas on how to serve excellent coffee and provide a welcoming environment. “It got me out of my comfort zone, but I see the value it in. Not only am I starting to like coffee more, but I’m seeing so many new faces at Newman thanks to Cor Coffee.” When asked how she’s seen Newman grow in the time of her involvement, she noted two things: “More people are coming to Mass and Cor Coffee throughout the year and involvement is increasing. Also, the chapel renovation has elevated the experience of Mass and adoration.”
After a year of hard work, Lauren is eagerly looking forward to serving again next year and excited about leading students to take more ownership over the life of the Newman Center so that even more can encounter Christ and become fully alive in Him. When asked what that looks like, she says “To me, being fully alive in Christ means to live life like God intended for us. It is so easy to get caught up in the stresses of college and root our identities in that.
When we tie ourselves down to the weight of all that, it’s easy to fall out of a relationship with God. But, when we root our identities in Christ and live more freely, we are able to be more alive in Christ. I want Newman to be more well-known on campus so more students can experience that freedom.”