The Sanctuary Campus: Ashleigh’s Story

The first year of college is both an exciting and daunting time.

For many, it’s a restart: finding yourself, your interests, your friends. For some, this means starting from scratch. Luckily, I didn’t have to.

Before I had even stepped foot on Wellesley’s campus in 2021, the leader of Wellesley’s Unitarian Universalist group (Heartspace) and Sanctuary’s Campus Ministry Coordinator, reached out to me, telling me about Heartspace and Sanctuary Boston.

As someone who has long been a part of the UU community and found some of my closest friends through Coming of Age and youth group, I was worried I might lose my UU community when I went to college either because I would be too busy or because there would be no UU communities I felt connected to. Never did I expect that the UU community I now call home would find me. Yet, there I found myself on a Wednesday evening taking the Wellesley shuttle into Back Bay to meet up with other college students in Campus Ministry.

I was nervous and thrilled as I walked past the brownstones to the meet-up. Who would be there? Would we get along? Would anyone show up? I could not have predicted what took place that day.

Several college students were there from Northeastern to Brandeis to Berklee to Harvard, and within minutes of talking, it felt as if I had known them my whole life. I remember singing together during the service and remarking about which songs had been our favorites at our home congregations (“Blue Boat Home”, of course). I remember walking back to the Wellesley bus stop that night with two of the students I had just met. We talked the entire way, and it felt effortless and comfortable. I didn’t want to leave.

Suddenly, in a matter of hours, I had found my best friends. The ones who would celebrate the good days with me and support me through the not so good ones. The ones who would always meet me at the bus stop on Wednesday evenings to walk to service with me (we never wanted to miss any time to talk) and always made sure I made the bus back. The ones who would log onto Zoom for small group and ponder some of life’s biggest questions with me. The ones who would camp with me at retreats and give me extra blankets when the temperature dropped.

Because of Campus Sanctuary Ministry, I have found the ones who I call my chosen family and Sanctuary which I call my home.


If you’re a student in the Boston area, connect with us here.

If you’re an alum of a college in the Boston area or would like to learn more about how you can support Boston Area Campus Ministry, click here.