GWUUCM exists to support and sustain vibrant student-run Unitarian Universalist groups on Worcester-area college campuses, primarily through the work of our chaplain, Rev. Cheryl Leshay.

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Campus ministry in Worcester began in 2004 with a request from a Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) student to the UU Church of Worcester (UUCW) for help in starting a student-run UU group on that campus. Rev. Cheryl answered that request in part by forming the Campus Ministry Steering Committee at UUCW, which has since evolved into current-day GWUUCM. In the years since that initial group, campus ministry efforts have grown and evolved significantly in the Greater Worcester area: Rev. Cheryl has consistently supported and sustained campus-based UU groups at WPI and Clark University, and offered ministerial services at Worcester State, Fitchburg State, Nichols College, and UMass Medical School. In the early years of GWUUCM, students toured Clara Barton district congregations with their “roadshow,” a student-led worship service, both as a fundraising effort and an attempt to improve visibility for campus-based ministry. More recently, GWUUCM has participated in UUCW Soulful Sundown Vespers Services, and a variety of other UUCW community events.

Beyond coordinating these specific connections between UU students and local congregations, GWUUCM sees its role primarily as that of a support system for campus-based groups. Rev. Cheryl offers guidance and resources for new student leaders, and she holds UU campus life together when colleges experience a gap in student leadership. Given the unpredictability and high turnover inherent to student life, GWUUCM’s steady presence is vital to maintaining a UU campus ministry presence long-term. We are able to hold an institutional memory that is often difficult for student-run groups to maintain, particularly given the lack of religious life infrastructure at most Worcester-area colleges.