Art by Caitlin Roark
As the school year begins, Pepperdine is abounding with opportunities to get involved and to create relationships. Of the numerous options, House Groups are particularly successful when it comes to fostering community. Offered through Campus Ministry and the University Church, House Groups are groups of students, faculty and families that meet every other week to eat and to share about their lives. Students should join a House Group in order to access a consistent source of community and care.
In a House Group, students meet people they otherwise would not have, and bridges are built in unexpected ways. How often can a student studying English eat a meal prepared by a psychology professor? These diverse relationships are vital and valuable. Pepperdine is home to so many kinds of people, and House Groups provide the setting for all of them to come together.
Additionally, people of all ages participate in House Groups, adding to the diversity of friendships that are formed. Both young and old benefit from intergenerational relationships, according to David Sturt’s article “Generational Differences: When They Matter, and When They Don’t“ published Aug. 16, 2016 by Forbes. Students also gain key access to mentorship when they join a House Group, which “is crucial to students,” according to Robert Pendoley’s article “The Critical Importance of Mentors in the College Transition“ published July 25, 2017, by Psychology Today. The adults who participate are eager to offer guidance to students and offer a refreshing change of pace to students who are surrounded by peers of the same age for the majority of the day.
To an extent, students crave a sense of normalcy and routine. House Groups are an opportunity for students to be a part of a consistent, reliable community. They serve as a place to return to regardless of how life is going. Every two weeks, students get to access a refuge of sorts and share as much or as little as they please. Within each House Group, a family dynamic is built. House groups are a space for students to put down roots and to make Pepperdine into a place that they can call home.
House Groups are open and beneficial to all students, regardless of if they claim a particular faith tradition. While the discussions are often centered around faith, the atmosphere is never exclusive or judgmental. Students are encouraged to come as they are, and they can be honest about any doubts that they have. House Groups are enhanced when people offer their authentic perspectives. For students who may not feel comfortable in a church, house groups offer an intermediate space, an informal sanctuary. They provide a setting where people can approach or simply learn about God without the need for ritual.
Signing up for a House Group is a worthwhile decision. The relationships founded in these communities are deep, enduring, and life-giving. Not only can all students reap benefits from House Groups, they can also offer their own valuable contributions to others. Overall, House Groups are instrumental in making Pepperdine more like home.
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