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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Campus ministry center feeds bodies, souls

University of Wisconsin–La Crosse junior Debbie Talford found her way to the Lutheran Campus Ministry Center by following directions written on a free bottle of water she received on move-in day her freshman year.

Students enjoy a chili supper at the
Students enjoy a chili supper at the Lutheran Campus Ministry Center of the University of Wisconsin—La Crosse.
Two years later, Talford is one of the center’s peer ministers. Now she hands out free water to incoming students.

Students welcome the free water—labeled with the center’s programs and its location across from the campus, Talford said. “A, they get water when it’s really hot out, and B, our information is all on there,” she said. “It’s really nice.”

The water project has been so successful in La Crosse that it was replicated in 2007 by the Lutheran Campus Ministry Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said Paul Petersen, campus minister at La Crosse. And the La Crosse campus ministry distributed about 3,500 free bottles at the start of classes this year, he said.


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