Freshman Survival Kits Hit College Campuses

How a laundry bag, Bible, and other freebees might pave the way for a first-year student to consider Christ.

  • by Bryn Gunning
Photo by Katherine R. Sheppard

“Free frisbees, water bottles, pens, candy, candy, candy!!”

Within the first week on campus, student organizations are clamoring for the attention of the freshman class.

Students step into a new world on campus and, inevitably, begin establishing a new identity.

Promising purpose, identity, and belonging, these organizations use free stuff to invite students to everything from student government elections to dinner with the atheist’s club.

In the midst of this circus of activity, the Campus Ministry also uses the draw of free stuff by handing out Freshman Survival Kits (FSK), but their goal in attracting new students is personal and eternal.

Typically, each student who takes an FSK fills out a brief survey that staff members and student leaders will use to contact students personally.

Dan Trepod, a Campus Ministry staff member in Michigan, says, “We want to get as many people to fill out surveys as possible, and those students may be drawn to us by a book or some freebie. We want to reach both strong Christians and those who have God working in their lives but they don’t know it yet.”

Freshman Survival Kits may include any combination of free items. Each campus chooses what they think will most effectively reach their students from the following items:

The Campus Ministry has been handing out Freshman Survival Kits for 14 years.

This year, more than 132,000 items have been shipped to 180+ campuses.

It is estimated that each kit exposes 3 to 5 people to the gospel message because of the tendency for students to share the contents with friends and roommates.

Reaching beyond the student population, similar kits have also been created for military personnel.

“I just hope to see these new students come to one of our small groups or I could meet up with them personally. And my hope would be that they come to Christ if they don’t know Him yet,” says Lauren Angyal, senior at Wayne State University in Detroit.

You Can Help

Following an FSK outreach, the task of contacting students, including phone calls and in-person meetings, can overwhelm a campus ministry team. You can volunteer to help with the process by using our ministry locator to contact active campus ministries near you.

The national FSK team also raises funds annually to cover the cost of each kit. Ask your friends, family members or even Sunday school class members to help you sponsor 5, 50 or 500 kits for next year.