Crossing the Bridge
Students meet others to discuss their faith
Any unfamiliar situation can be scary. Undoubtedly, one of the most unfamiliar situations all Grand
Valley State University students experience is the immense jump from high school to college. To
ease this transition, students can find support in the Bridge.
“Here at Grand Valley there wasn’t much of a freshman outreach program,” said Will Brooks, one of
the leaders of Bridge. “After going to a smaller school myself, I couldn’t imagine going into
somewhere this big and unknown; the Bridge was designed to help students with the transition.”
The Bridge is a student-led network for new students that are looking for a way to get involved
with Campus Ministry, while also addressing some of the hard challenges and difficult decisions
they will now face with college life. The religious group formed to help new students find ways to
celebrate their faith on campus and meet other new students looking to do the same. The Bridge is
new to campus this year and aims to welcome freshmen, transfer students, international students,
and others to Grand Valley State University.
“The big thing is to start by building a community and relationships,” Brooks said. “Then, help
students learn how to build faith on campus without avoiding other campus life and activities. The
Bridge is designed to give the foundation they need to live out their faith and help answer
questions about their faith in all the different experiences and situations that happen on campus
without compromising their faith.”
It also shows students ways of getting involved off-campus as well.
“[The Bridge is] a way for new students to get to know the local churches,” said Lindsey Olsen, a
member of Spring Valley Church, who helped host this week’s first Bridge event. “[It lasts] six
weeks, and each week is hosted by a different local church.”
A typical Bridge meeting starts off with a few icebreakers to get the students acquainted with one
another. The band leads students in song while helping to explain what the Bridge is and what
students are there to accomplish. Student leaders share personal experiences that explain how they
got involved with the Bridge, and why it is such a good opportunity for new students.
“The first [goal] is to build a strong Christian community within each other and having an outlet to
live out your faith in whatever you do on campus,” Brooks said.
The Bridge also aims to provide guidance for students.
“[The Bridge will] answer the different questions that come along with living on campus,” Brooks
said. “For example, what the Bible says about fiscal situations or relationships, romantic or
friendship. This Sunday coming up we will be learning more about each event on campus, so that
we don’t put one faith over another.”
After the program concluded its first session, students were already exchanging numbers and
making plans to go to church services together.
“It was helpful to me to be able to be with students who are in the same position as me,” said
freshman Susanna Oakley. “It’s hard coming to such a big school, and not knowing very many
people. The Bridge seems like a good way to meet with people who have the same interests as me,
as well as give us an opportunity to worship together.”
The Bridge is open to anyone who is interested in learning about the campus ministry options at
“The Bridge is a Christian community for students to live out their faith,” Brooks said. “But, if you
are just looking to answer some questions about faith and looking for a community to do that, we
will help teach you what our beliefs are.”
For more information on the Bridge, email leader Chris Pieters at email@example.com.