The Richmond Center for Christian Study has always been a calm oasis in the chaos of finals.
When Boatwright is filled to capacity and students with transportation fan out across the area, the Study Center on Grove Avenue with Boyer's in the front is always a great off-campus study option.
After three years it has moved to a new location, but it is just as welcoming to students and its purpose remains the same.
The main advantage of the move is that the Study Center is now within walking distance from campus, in an upstairs room in the River Road Shopping Center near the University Forest Apartments. The new location is smaller, which gives it a more home-like feel. Though the Study Center no longer has an ice cream shop inside, its move next to campus serves as a major step forward, since the main goal of the Study Center is to serve Richmond students and to provide an accessible location where they can better benefit from the Study Center's mission.
Chris Daniel is the Study Center’s director and only paid staff member. He is a Georgia transplant and a University of Richmond student himself. He is currently obtaining a masters degree in nonprofit studies so he can run the Study Center more efficiently.
“Over the last many decades universities have drifted more secular and more postmodern and it has created this need for Christian Study Centers to come along and reintroduce a biblical worldview to the educational lives of students,” Daniel said.
This is a need many others have felt needed to be filled, as there are around 50 similar Study Centers near college campuses across the country.
The Richmond Center for Christian Study is non-denominational. It offers a paid educational internship program for students and discussion groups that are attended by between 20 and 50 students every week. Although it has a Christian message, it is not exclusively for any one faith.
“One of the essential features of the Study Center is that it’s available to any UR students to just come in and study, even if you’re not interested in the internship program or the discussion groups,” Daniel said.
Daniel explained that one of his main goals is to be as involved with UR students and the university itself as much as possible. The internship program and discussion groups are ways for students and faculty to grow a relationship with the Study Center.
Tee Feyrer, RC '18, is one of the 20 students involved in the Study Center’s internship program.
“The internship isn’t about doing something for someone else or getting projects done, it’s really to guide and deepen our understanding of what a biblical worldview looks like,” Feyrer said.
Part of a recent effort by Daniel is to get more Richmond faculty involved with the Study Center. Several professors have taken part in discussion groups and led talks about various books for students and community member participants.
“It’s cool to see that professors have their own spiritual lives and that they want to share that with us," Feyrer said.
Linda Hobgood, a Rhetoric and Communications professor and director of the Speech Center, led a book discussion this past semester.
“If I had some of the questions in college that I think students have now, we would have been directed to a specific church or synagogue and this is a great alternative where kids can go with general questions to a place that is not denominational, you don’t even have to be Christian,” Hobgood said.
The students were receptive to her book discussion and she noted the importance of having a place outside of campus where students and faculty can connect.
“It was really great to get to know students outside of the classroom,” she said. “I found myself looking forward to the meetings and I think it was a great experience for them and for me.”
In the near future, the Study Center is aiming to grow in its new location. The funding comes mostly from local donors and small businesses who believe in the message. Daniel is about to embark on a budget expansion to add staff members and reach more students.
He hopes his masters in nonprofit studies will help with that, but whatever happens, the Study Center will always be there, whether you are coming with spiritual questions or just Spanish homework.
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Click here for more information about the Study Center and for specific directions on how to get there.