God in the Quad by Naomi Schaefer Riley

The theme of modern college life is experimentation, rebellion, drunkenness, and other sewing other wild oats. Considered by many to be a rite of passage, college is the only time a young man or woman can be excused to do some really stupid things. So why do thousands of students every year decide to attend religious universities and colleges where rules and discipline is the norm? We would expect this from students interested in entering ministry, but the majority of these students are moving into common fields such as education, business, and medicine.

Editor Naomi Schaeffer Riley had the same question, and she went to campuses across the country to find the answers. She visited the Mormon campus of Brigham Young in Utah. She visited the Catholic – yet very different- campuses of Notre Dame and Thomas Aquinas College. She stopped by the uber-conservative Bob Jones University.  She visited the unique Jewish school of Yeshiva and the large Baptist based Texas campus of Baylor University. Her travels also brought her to different campuses around the nation that she discusses but in smaller details.

The one common thing she finds: everything and everyone is different. She finds a young, devoted believer trying to strengthen his/her faith but at the same campus she can find the nonbeliever who is simply searching for a great education at a great campus. Religious schools in America are thriving because they offer a positive alternative for students looking for a more disciplined, structured, meaningful college experience.

Though I definitely did not find Naomi Schaffer Riley to be bias, it seems like the students she interviewed were always on the extreme side of the scale. I did not feel like she was reaching out to the campus norm but the campus outliners. For a more in depth look at a religious school and the men and women who attend, I highly recommend An Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose over this book.

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