by, Madalyn Johnson, Web Editor
Manhattan College’s Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) is a program that provides a very inclusive and welcoming community for students who want to talk about their faith and Christianity. In 2019, Cru at MC was introduced and started as a small group of people who would meet regularly to get to know each other and practice bible study. Now, Cru will claim club status heading into the fall semester.
Cru was founded in 1951 at the University of California in Los Angeles by Bill Bright and Vonette Zachary. Since then, Cru has expanded to become a worldwide nonprofit organization that sets out to reach many Christian communities, ranging from athletes to high school students to military families. The organization has also gone just beyond spreading the truth of the Word to local communities. Cru was involved in the release of the Jesus film project, JESUS, in 1979, which became the most translated motion picture. Founder Vonette introduced a legislative law in 1988 that President Ronald Reagan would sign, declaring the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer. Today, Cru programs exist in 190 countries.
Officializing Cru as a club has excited program members, especially Cru leaders. Nick Corrado, a junior majoring in civil engineering, describes how the official status of the club doesn’t exactly change what activities members can participate in, but significantly gets the word out about the program.
“It’s not so much what people can do differently,” Corrado said.“But it’s how many people know about it. We have been trying to make it more public. We hung up posters and have the website presence, and we have our email address now set up. So, just kind of getting the word out that people have an opportunity to do this.”
For Corrado, joining Cru wasn’t only to learn about Jesus and study Christianity. He felt that Cru gave him a chance to reflect on his personal life and relate to others about the difficulty of college.
“I just wanted an opportunity to come together with a bunch of people, who wanted to know about Jesus and who wanted to talk about him and talk about what’s going on in our lives,” Carrado said. Sometimes it’s difficult to have those conversations about, ‘Oh, I’m doing good, this is happening’, or ‘I’m doing really bad, this is not going so well in my life’. So it was an opportunity to talk with people about all those things.”
Corrado shared that what he has loved most about being an active Cru member is seeing people gradually change as they participate and become more involved in the program.
“Other people that I have watched have started seeing things from a spiritual lens which I think is a very transforming way to live,” Corrado said. “It’s not just going to school and going to classes, doing work. It’s, ‘Wow it’s a beautiful day. God blessed us with the sun and everything today, and it’s another awesome day.’”
Sophomore and civil engineering major Brixhilda Jaku is another member who is pleased to see that Cru is receiving club recognition. She joined the club as a freshman to make more friends on campus and loved how accepting the program was.
“I started going to Cru meetings freshman year in October, I found the flyer somewhere and I really wanted to join the community,” Jaku said. “Even though it [Manhattan College] is not a big school, I still was trying to find friends and people who had common interests. In the first meeting, everybody was so welcoming, and I felt a really good vibe in the place, and I really liked it.”
Wanting Cru to become an official club when Manhattan was restrictive about club activity on campus amid COVID-19 was concerning to Jaku. Although this semester has been hard on students involved in clubs, eager to resume back to in-person activities, Cru was fortunate enough to undergo an easy and fast process to become a club.
“We’re very thankful for Manhattan College for giving us the opportunity to open like a new club, especially with the pandemic, you might think things would take longer, but it was very fast,” Jaku said. “We just had to submit the request, we found someone to approve us, and from there it was very easy when we didn’t really expect it. We’re very thankful.”
Jaku is mainly grateful for the approval because of the lack of interaction members have experienced this semester when meeting virtually. Along with the other leaders, Jaku’s goal for this fall semester is for Cru to have meetings in person for the sake of the experience students can have when joining a Christian program that values connections face to face.
“We’ve had some people come to the meetings online, but it’s definitely a different experience when you’re in person,” Jaku said. “Sometimes there are internet problems, and there’s a different vibe when people bond with each other more, rather than virtu- ally. Our goal next year is that we have a stronger community, and we build stronger relation- ships with other people.”
One student who is pleased to see Cru become a club in time for next semester is someone who sadly won’t be present when clubs resume in person. Senior Sam Szabo is a kinesiology major and proud leader of Cru. Although he won’t be a member when Cr u begins their first academic year as a club, Szabo is appreciative of the memories he made with the program and, even more so, happy that he got to witness students grow closer to Jesus.
“It’s really rewarding to see, you know, people grow in Christ,” Szabo said.
“There are members who didn’t know how to pray, who Jesus was, but throughout the meetings gained an understanding of what Jesus did on the cross and the gospel and how to pray,” Szabo said. “It’s one thing to just be able to talk amongst each other as friends, but it’s also really amazing to see how God meets people in these meetings.”
Regardless of students’ religious beliefs, Szabo stresses that Cru is a perfect fit for students seeking to find a close group of friends to relate to and feel comfortable with when expressing their true selves.
“[Cru] is more than just a group where we talk about things, we’re more like a family,” Szabo said. “It’s a really close-knit family where there’s no judgment. We don’t care what background you’re in, but our ultimate goal is to shine the love of Jesus to anyone who attends and eventually through- out the whole campus.”
To learn more about Cru at Manhattan College, visit https://www.cru.org/communities/campus/us/manhattan-college/.