Some religious organization affiliates on campus should take a different approach when reaching out to students walking to class.
It is commonplace for students to be handed fliers while on their way to class. Oftentimes these fliers are presented with a short statement summarizing the content of the message. Some religious organizations use a different approach, however. Shoving Bibles into the hands of a student with a busy schedule is annoying and unnecessary. I understand these groups are trying to promote their causes, but this is a university, not a market.
These religious groups should reach out to students from behind a table or booth instead of just shoving materials into the hands of unwitting students. Approaching the topic in a more secular way would likely be effective. Placing a Bible in a student’s hand wastes resources and, quite frankly, valuable time. In my time here, I have seen several instances of groups handing out copies of the New Testament on The Quad only to result in piles of holy trash accumulating in trashcans. Religion is a touchy subject for many students and should therefore be advertised more delicately.
College is a time for students to find themselves. A student has every right to join or ignore a group as they please. Religious groups on campus should take this into consideration when campaigning in The Quad. All campus organizations have a right to set up in The Quad and advertise their causes. However, this does not mean it is acceptable to chase students on their way to class and pass around copies of the Psalms like one would a football. Religious organizations should keep in mind some students do just fine without believing in a higher power hovering over them and judging actions they make as a sin.
The free speech area located around the Fighting Stallions statue in The Quad is an essential part of campus. Students and faculty alike are welcome to express themselves on any subject there. Many religious groups use this area just for that purpose. However, spewing spiritual rants like a schizophrenic St. Peter can only to turn people away from an organization. Religion is something many people turn to when everything else has abandoned them. Groups on campus should keep this in mind and offer comfort rather than force students to accept their dogmatic doctrine.
Religious groups should take advantage of the free speech area as a way to promote their views in a calm and collected manner. Some students searching for acceptance in a group will likely be more apt to join a rational one rather than ones speaking in tongues and sporting the stigma.
In my personal experience so far at Texas State, the only religious groups I have seen out on The Quad are associated with Christianity. Christians seem to have a monopoly on the religious groups on campus. This gives students the impression Christianity is the only option. Since Texas State prides itself in being a campus immersed in diversity, I encourage all religious groups to stake out a spot on The Quad and promote their groups in a rational, calm manner.