Navigating the challenges university students face can be stressful, and many students are looking for support in these hard times. While there are many wonderful supports available for students, one that often goes underused is Mt. A Spiritual Care services. Mt. A Spiritual Care aims to support and celebrate students of different faiths, philosophies, and secular paths. I sat down with Mt. A’s multi-faith chaplain and spiritual care coordinator, Ellie Hummel, to hear about what initiatives they are offering this semester.
Hummel explained her role at the university, saying, “I offer programs to engage students in particular, but also the whole community in questions of faith, ethics, values, meaning and also to build community.” She explained compassion, hospitality, gratitude, generosity, and curiosity are the values she works from. “To me, those values do not come from a faith, they come from being human and building relationships,” she stated.
Students may notice different posters on campus advertising initiatives Mt. A Spiritual Care is offering this semester. She noted that Crafternoons— a weekly drop-in session for students at 12 AM on Tuesdays for faculty and staff to work on their crafting projects— was run by the Wellness Centre in previous years, but she decided it would be a fun idea for Mt. A Spiritual Care to take on; “It is a place where we can do the things we enjoy, there are lots of crafts available. The idea is to take a break in the day, and to take a step back and think about other things.” Furthermore, Hummel talked about another program, Exploring Mediation. The sessions will be taking place from 4 to 4:45 PM. She highlighted the importance of stepping back and being mindful through different meditative practices as well.
“A Moment for Peace” is another meeting that Mt. A Spiritual Care is holding from 1 to 1:20 PM on Wednesdays. She elaborated on the program, saying, “There are many things in life that keep us up at night. Whether it is readings, passing a class, if you are going to get into graduate school, as well as the climate crisis or political situations, and international students worrying about home.” She said that this is a space to talk and bring our prayers and thoughts. “A Moment for Peace” allows students to “give voice to what keeps us up at night” and further keep those who are globally impacted by turmoil in our hearts. Hummel established that the meetings are a compassionate space to share what is weighing on students’ minds.
Not only that, Hummel ensured that the chapel is a safe place for all students. The chapel is a space where students can come to clear their heads. The chapel features the sanctuary, the quiet room, the Manning-multi-faith room and the multi-prayer room. Additionally, she hoped that some of the initiatives would bring students in to explore the chapel. Hummel elaborated on some of her efforts to ensure that Mt. A Spiritual Care is inclusive for students. “It is an ongoing question about how we make students feel welcome, especially in the chapel but out on campus as well. It connects to compassion and compassion for everyone.” There are several different faith-based student groups on campus like Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Jewish Students’ Union, Muslim Student Society, Mt. A Catholics and The Witch’s Society.
If readers of The Argosy have questions about Mt. A Spiritual Care and the services provided, they can reach out to @mtaspiritualcare on Instagram or Facebook or email [email protected].