Connecting your CIO to your Future: Chi Alpha
Learn from a fellow UVA undergraduate how a student organization can provide you the necessary resources, skills, and connections to attain your current and future career goals. Check out the following spotlight on Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship featuring Landon Gragg who is currently serving as a Core Group leader for first year guys. Landon is a third year majoring in Public Policy and minoring in Middle Eastern Studies. Read on to learn Landon’s journey with Chi Alpha.
What is your current role in Chi Alpha and how have you achieved, or hope to attain personal development?
I serve as a first-year guy core group leader in Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship at the University of Virginia. Core groups are the backbone of our fellowship, and are small groups of 5-12 (on average) guys or girls separated by year that meet on a weekly basis. I have two co-leaders for my core group, as most core groups have three leaders, and we collaborate to plan and facilitate our weekly meetings along with various other social events throughout the week. I became a core group leader following my first year in the fellowship, as I felt called to servant leadership after a year of my own core-group leaders investing a lot of their own time in my own spiritual and personal development.
In what ways, can students in Chi Alpha develop leadership skills?
Members of Chi Alpha can develop leadership skills by taking a traditional leadership role as a core-group leader or by emerging as a leader within their core groups or the fellowship at-large. This may look like taking the initiative to plan events, joining worship team, or simply leading by example within one’s core-group. A focus is put on servant-leadership within the fellowship, as we believe the most effective leadership in a Christian context is one originating from a place of genuine humility and vulnerability.
How does Chi Alpha help undergraduate students explore?
Chi Alpha offers students a place and an atmosphere, both through our weekly large-group meeting and small groups, conducive to true self-reflection. The level of vulnerability and transparency, particularly experienced in a small-group setting, has fostered my own growth on a spiritual and personal level. The sense of welcoming community present within Chi Alpha is unmatched at the university in my opinion.
What advice/information would you give to UVA students interested in exploring Chi Alpha? What is the time commitment?
I would say come out to our Monday night large group at 8 PM in McLeod Hall, affectionally known as Monday Night Live (MNL), and experience the Chi Alpha community for yourself. It is a fun night filled with worship, a student testimony, and a message which lasts about an hour and a half in total. From there, joining a core group enables you to really make connections and form possibly life-long friendships with people interested in growing in their faith lives. Core groups typically meet on Wednesday or Thursday nights for an hour and a half in various locations chosen by the core-group leaders. Chi Alpha also holds two amazing weekend retreats a year; Fall Retreat in October and Winter Retreat in February, along with various other social events on the weekends. Perhaps the most important point is that non-Christians and those simply exploring what faith looks like in their lives are 100% welcome to all Chi Alpha events
What general advice do you have for students who are uncertain in what they want to get involved in? How can they start exploring?
I recommend talking to friends, roommates, and classmates, and see what involvements or organizations make them light up when they talk about them. Then simply just take a chance and try out an organization. Worst case scenario, it’s not a good fit, and you move on with your life. But you must be willing to take a chance on new opportunities and communities that arise in college. That’s how you truly make your college experience worthwhile and memorable.
Contact Landon (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions about getting involved.