NNU Logo


Mar 25, 2024 | Blog

By: Mark Cork, AVP of Marketing & Communications 

Belonging is a fundamental human need, transcending boundaries, cultures and environments. It is a cornerstone of human existence, fostering connections that provide emotional, psychological and spiritual nourishment. This significance is accentuated in faith-based higher education communities such as Northwest Nazarene University (NNU), where belonging nurtures personal growth and is foundational in supporting and reinforcing the beliefs instilled by parents in their students.

At its core, belonging offers individuals a sense of identity, acceptance and inclusion within a community. In the context of faith-based education, this takes on added dimensions. Dr. Brene Brown, a research professor and acclaimed author, encapsulates this sentiment: “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically and spiritually wired to love, to be loved and to belong.”

Belonging, within a faith-based context like NNU provides a supportive environment that aligns with the values and beliefs parents have imparted to their children throughout their lives. Students are immersed in an environment where their faith is acknowledged and integrated into their educational experience. Spaces for worship, prayer and discussions centered around faith foster a sense of belonging and reinforce the spiritual teachings instilled by parents and families. This continuous reinforcement of faith-based values offers students a stable foundation to deepen their spiritual convictions, promoting a harmonious relationship between the beliefs learned at home and those embraced within their academic environment.

Conversely, in non-faith-based colleges, the absence of a shared faith community might create a potential disconnect between a student’s upbringing and their collegiate experience. While these institutions offer diverse perspectives, they may not prioritize the nurturing of spiritual beliefs, potentially leading to a dilution or divergence from the values and teachings passed down by parents.

A community like NNU not only accepts but also encourages the practice of their beliefs. This support system aids students in reconciling their faith with academic pursuits, social interactions and personal development, fostering a holistic and integrated approach to life. The reinforcement of beliefs within such a community bolsters students’ confidence in their convictions, empowering them to navigate diverse perspectives while staying grounded in their faith. The immersive environment of shared faith reinforces values, sustains spiritual foundations and provides guidance, ensuring a cohesive integration of beliefs into students’ collegiate experiences and beyond. This unique aspect distinguishes faith-based institutions, emphasizing the critical role of belonging in nurturing and strengthening individual convictions within a supportive communal framework.

Throughout this issue of the Messenger, you’ll read stories that illustrate the importance of and the benefits of a community where people know belonging. Stories of a shared faith, a shaped faith and a faith that is both nurtured and expanded. Cultivating a supportive, spiritually enriched environment empowers students academically, emotionally and spiritually. To know belonging creates a foundation for personal growth, resilience and a deeper understanding of oneself in relation to others and the Divine, setting the stage for a fulfilling and enriching college experience.

To know NNU is to know belonging!