The 2022 Welcome Event
August 2022 marked the second anniversary of a unique collaboration between Plymouth, the CSU Office of International Programs and the Fort Collins International Center, Lutheran Campus Ministry at CSU and its Student Housing Security Initiative, numerous other area congregations – and a sorority!
As both international and the SHSI students arrive on campus with little with which to outfit their apartments, Plymouth’s Outreach and Mission Board saw an opportunity last year to help both groups. It’s a simple concept:
Last year, due to COVID restrictions, we had to move the event outside. That turned out to be a very good idea.
This year, due to the massive number of donations, many of them bulky, we set up tables and large items outside and still filled Fellowship Hall with tables laden with dishes, cookware, and other small items.
The HOME-Y WELCOME EVENT is a simple idea, but it has had a tremendous impact. The name “Plymouth” is recognized by hundreds of students, of many faiths, from many parts of the world, along with local students who were housing insecure until becoming selected for participation in LuMin’s SHSI program.
More importantly, these students are now safely housed and prepared for a productive first year at CSU, with an apartment that is functional, comfortable, conducive to study, and HOME.
Thank you to all who helped in any way to make Year 2 such a success. If you would like to be part of the leadership core to plan and carry out the 2023 event, let us know by using the button below:
History of the program
Several years ago, the folks at Lutheran Campus Ministries at CSU (also known as LuMin) became aware that many – four out of every ten! – CSU students struggled with housing insecurity at some point during the time it took to complete their undergraduate degrees. Many had aged out of foster care and literally had no family to whom they could turn. Others had been rejected by their families when they revealed their sexual or gender identity. Some were from families who were struggling themselves and weren’t in a position to help. For these students, staying in school meant sleeping on a friend’s couch, living in their car, taking out more loans and increasing their post-graduate debt load… or dropping out and working full time in order to have money for tuition – and a roof over their head – next semester.
What could LuMin do? The answer was obvious: FIND THEM AFFORDABLE HOUSING!
This led to the creation of the Student Housing Security Initiative, which began with ten incredible students last year. Rent subsidies were arranged through CSU – and donations from partner congregations like us. But these students, often invisible and voiceless, needed more than help with rent. They needed community. They needed safe space in which to become the people they were created to be. So a program of weekly meals and conversation was developed. These gatherings soon became the heart of the program, and… even more important, in some ways, than the money that helped with rent.
LuMin created a video in which the students talk about the importance of this program… the ability to work one job instead of three, to know they were securely housed and safe, and to be able to grow in community with others with similar backgrounds, with whom they shared the dream of finishing their degrees, as four of the initial group did earlier this year.
Listen to what they have to say: