Students at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (UWO) who wish to live a residential campus life that nurtures their Catholic faith and provides them with a spiritually encouraging environment will now have the opportunity to do so. UWO is now offering a faith-based housing option for students called the Newman Student House, according to The Northwestern.
According to the Diocese of Green Bay, “this is the first development of its kind at a public university in Wisconsin.” The faith-based apartment complex was established through the Newman Center at UWO and is set to open for the Fall 2014 semester.
The Catholic Campus Ministry director at the Newman Center, Father Jason Blahnik, told The Northwestern that students will be encouraged to pray and share meals together and get involved in monthly service projects. “The idea of having brothers or sisters in Christ living with you [and] helping you to live life as best you can… [is] kind of like a family away from home,” Fr. Blahnik reportedly stated. Residents of the Newman Student House will also have access to the sacraments at the University’s Newman Center, located just ten minutes away.
The community policy for the Newman Student House promises “a faith-nurturing environment that promotes a student honor code and respect for each individual resident within a community that supports them through their college years.”
UWO’s Newman Center issued a press release in July and explained that the complex is a six-unit coed housing option with the capacity to house up to 28 students. Apartments are separated by sex. The complex is located a half-mile from the University campus.
Alex Carroll, a senior biology major, has already applied to live at the Newman Student House for the fall semester. He was reportedly tired of the noise and partying in the on-campus dorms:
I wanted some other place to live that I knew would be safe and an encouraging environment. I wanted to be in an environment where people weren’t drinking and partying all the time. I just never saw the appeal in the whole party scene.
According to The Northwestern, Carroll got involved with the UWO Newman Center in his freshman year, which drew him “deeper into his faith and [taught] him that he didn’t have to separate his religion from his social life.”
Students of UWO interested in living in the Newman Student House must apply and, if accepted, agree to its living rules which include no drugs, alcohol, or overnight guests. The University administration has allowed up to 10 first and second-year students, who normally are required to live on-campus, to apply. Students who apply do not necessarily have to be Catholic, but they “should share in the house’s mission,” according to The Northwestern.
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