By Alexi Lund
The 2013 Lenten season brought a new opportunity for students of the Saint Mary’s University community by offering multi-denominational group Lent 4.5 as an option for students who do not practice the Catholic faith.
Lent 4.5 is a group offered through the Office of Campus Ministry (OCM) that meets during the season of Lent to discuss global environment issues and how Christians have a responsibility to care for God’s creation.
“The significance of the number 4.5 is that we should be living off of 4.5 acres rather than the average 22.3 acres that Americans use to support themselves,” said SMU senior and Lent 4.5 Group Leader Jenna Putz. She also said that the group discusses the small steps it can take to care for our Earth.
This group is small but consists of people with different experiences, allowing students to learn from each other and get to know new people on campus. A member of the group, senior Stephanie Solland, said, “I chose to participate in the multi-denominational group because I wanted to learn more about what other Christian faiths do during the Lenten season and what their perspective is on sustainability issues.”
This is the first year of the non-denominational group. Putz said, “Our biggest challenge is to get the word out about the group, because it really is for anyone who is interested, not just those who practice the Catholic faith.”
This group is a great addition to OCM because it encourages students of all faith traditions to be a part of OCM programs. They look at various Christian views including Presbyterian, Lutheran and Methodist.
“I think this group provides an opportunity for all students to come together to discuss religion and its relationship to sustainability in a safe environment,” said Solland.
This group has helped students to see Lent in a different way because of its focus on sustainability, according to Solland. She said, “It has given me an opportunity to think more about what I can do personally to help care for the environment.”
“To put it simply, Lent 4.5 is an awesome and valuable group,” said Putz.