Becoming Visible: Quaker Outreach at Colleges

Last week I traveled up to Boone, North Carolina to assist the SPICE (Acronym for core Quaker testimonies: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, & Equality) Quaker student group at Appalachian State University with their table at the Student Involvement Fair. These fairs are quite common at college campuses at the beginning of the school year and each club and/or student group can have a table to introduce fellow students to who they are.

IMG_20160815_145740677As a religious club, the SPICE club was in the same room with all the other religious clubs
on campuses. We were next to the Presbyterian/Episcopal club, and near other denominational campus ministries, like the United Methodist Wesley Foundation and Catholic Campus Ministry They were also at least half a dozen parachurch groups, like Cru, formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ. There were a lot of variety for students to choose from. I am glad Quakers appear as one of the options.

During the fair the SPICE group had a cardboard display about their group and they had printed stickers with their name on it and wrote on the back their meeting time for the semester. (Their meeting time changes each semester dependinIMG_20160815_150928812 (1)g on the class schedules of the members.) I brought with me a life-size Quaker Man from my meeting, First Friends Meeting of Greensboro, and some chocolates to give out.

Throughout the event, we gave out chocolates and stickers to App students. We asked people if they had heard of Quakers or if they were interested in being involved with a faith community based on simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality. By the end of the event, we had a list of 12 student names and contact information and had given out all of the SPICE stickers.


Joe & Harriet wtih Quaker Man

Now, the SPICE group leadership, made up of Ellen, Harriet, and Joe, are reaching out to these students and planning some great events for this upcoming semester. I am working with them this year to help their efforts to reach out to the larger campus community at Appalachian State and to help plan events

Just imagine if Quakers were on more college campuses, what if we were able to reach a dozen students each year on, say, 25 campuses. What impact would that cause on students’ lives? What impact would that have on the future of the Religious Society of Friends? We have a powerful message to share about a faith centered on peace and community. This message to share that needs to be shared alongside other ministry groups on college campuses. Students are indeed eager to hear it! We need to become visible on these campuses!

As I wrote earlier in the summer, I am currently working on setting up a network of Quaker campus ministries at non-Quaker higher education institutions to support students like Ellen, Harriet, and Joe, in developing Quaker groups on their campuses. These groups help to sustain Quaker students in their faith journey during college. I welcome any support in helping to identify:

  • Quaker students you know at non Quaker institutions
  • Quaker student group at non Quaker institutions
  • Quakers who have a leading to work with college students

If you can help or want to get involved in any way, please fill out this form or contact me at



15 thoughts on “Becoming Visible: Quaker Outreach at Colleges

  1. I am from unprogrammed Quaker traditions rather than evangelical Quakers. Often time unprogrammed Quakers tend to lean towards “attraction” over “promotion”
    How do you understand navigating this grey area?

    • That is a great question! I grew up in and have attended unprogrammed meetings most of my life. Currently I attend a programmed meeting, but we are not Evangelical Friends.

      I have heard this debate about this distinction about attraction over promotion. There is a big gray area between these two concepts that some unprogrammed Quakers will not recognize.

      For me promotion does not mean evangelizing. Some of this work is just letting people know that Quakers are still around and they are not Amish or look like the Quaker Oats guy.

      Sometimes I feel that unprogrammed Quakers and even some programmed Quakers are just hiding in plain sight. People won’t find us if we don’t have a website, or if we don’t have a clear description of who we are as a faith community.

      In terms of navigating this, it is difficult with some Quakers who think just talking about ourselves is promotion or evangelizing. I am frustrated at times with these people. But I know there are Friends who want to talk about this and I am directing my message to them first.

  2. Now I’m arguing with myself over whether that should be historically-Quaker chocolate (Cadbury, Fry’s, Rowntree) or Fair Trade chocolate and then going “gah, why isn’t that a subset?!”

  3. Just imagine if Quakers were in more slum areas, what if we were able to reach a dozen poor people each year in, say, 25 slums. What impact would that cause on these people lives?

    What impact might that cause on our lives?

  4. Remember sleep research regarding young adults. Due to changes in their melatonin cycle, they can’t go to sleep until 11 p.m., but, at that age, they still need nine hours sleep. They are expected to get up by seven on weekdays, sometimes earlier. That means they are chronically sleep deprived. They desperately need to sleep in on Sundays. If you want them coming to Quaker Meeting, it has to be in the afternoon or evening Sunday, or evening mid week. Expecting them to come at 10 or 11 a.m. Sunday is unreasonable, cruel, and even bad for their health.

    Also, chocolate is a dangerous addictive drug. Should not be used in a nation with an obesity epidemic to attract young people.

    I’m a member of Scarsdale Friends Meeting in N.Y.

  5. It was just announced that Adelphi Friends Meeting will be sponsoring a monthly meeting for worship at University of Maryland, College Park, on the third Wednesday of the month.

  6. Pingback: Old and newer King James Versions and other translations #4 Steps to the women’s bibles | Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

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