Newman Center Provides Gathering Place for Catholic Students


Anne Orban, Content Editor

Many college students look for a place to call their “home away from home” during their first year at school. For students at Black Hills State University, there are many clubs and organizations where they can find their place. Many Catholic students find their place at the Saint Joseph’s Newman Center.

In the past, the club struggled to keep and build members. However, this year they grew from just a few students to a club of 20-30 members who have one important thing in common – their faith.

Club President Jack Nelson said the goal of the Newman Center, is to help college students grow in their faith with people their own age. Nelson has been involved with the Newman Center since the first day of his freshman year and was elected the club President last year.

Nelson said his experience as club President has been wonderful.

“I’ve been able to help my faith grow as well as being able to help others by taking a leadership role,” said Nelson.

The Newman Center was nominated for the most improved student organization this year. Newman Center Director Malinda Hetzel said she tries to get on campus at least once a week to meet with students as well as hold adoration, confession, and even celebrate Mass.

The spike in membership has pushed the club to work harder at their goal of getting into a new facility. The club is fundraising for a building on campus and has raised 42-percent of the funds they need. They hope to break ground by spring of 2016 and be in their new building by 2017.

Until they can move to their new home, Newman Center students moved their chapel to a larger room in their current facility to accommodate the growing attendance at their Tuesday night Mass services.

“There are more students here than I have worked with in the past. The number of students that I have worked with and built relationships with has practically tripled and that’s just college students,” said Hetzel.

The Newman Center is doing a lot of marketing and publicity to promote growth. They’ve created a Facebook page and hung posters and flyers across campus.

“We’ve had a great core officer group and even the rest of the club has helped spread the word just so we can get as many people as we can,” Nelson said.

Kyle Harris, who has been a part of the club since last spring, said, “I think it is really important to have a presence on campus. Right now it is kind of difficult where we are, I think a mile away from campus.”

Harris said that having a Newman Center on campus would be huge for Catholic students.

Newman Centers are located at almost every college, and have been there as a place for Catholic students to stay strong in their faith for years.

Hetzel said her life was changed by her Newman Center when she was in college.

“I started at Northwest in Powell. They have a Newman Center there and the only time it was open was on Sunday’s from 6-8 for supper. I could never make because I had to work.”

Hetzel’s experience at her Newman Center in college helped her to find her calling to college and youth ministry. “I loved my faith. I also was involved in some of the other ministry’s on campus. I really got to develop a relationship with Christ and I really wanted that for Catholic college students,” Hetzel said.