more on campus fellowships

October 30, 2007

In a recent issue of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, this feature article Asianisation of Campus Fellowships,

Asian American college students are often stereotyped as immersed in math clubs or networking groups for future engineers or doctors. However, the campus groups that Asians most commonly join are actually Christian fellowships, educators say. In fact, Asian membership in the ministries has exploded in recent years and is most striking at the most prestigious schools around the country.

Dr. Rebecca Kim, assistant professor of sociology at Pepperdine University, researched Asian American evangelism at campuses around the country for her 2006 book, God’s New Whiz Kids. She found that among the more than 50 Christian groups at the University of California, Berkeley, 80 percent of the members were of Asian descent, even though they made up 40 percent of the student body. The same held true among the 50-plus counterpart groups at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, on the East Coast, one out of four practicing Christians at New York City colleges was Asian, according to Kim. At Harvard University, Asian Americans made up 70 percent of the Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship. Yale University’s chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ was 90 percent Asian, a stark contrast to the fact that it was all White in the early 1980s.

The 10 InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA chapters with the largest Asian memberships, often as high as 80 percent, were at schools where enrollment was anywhere from 11 to 28 percent Asian: Boston, Cornell, Emory, Harvard, MIT, Northwestern, Rutgers, the University of Illinois- Chicago, the University of Michigan and the University of Washington.

Read the full article for additional statistics, anecdotal commentaries, and quotes from Dr. Peter Cha, Paul Tokunaga, and Dr. Rebecca Kim.

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