ACO plans activities

Their voices can be heard loud and clear as they reverberate through the walls of Ford Chapel. Now, however, the members of Allegheny Christian Outreach (ACO) hope to be just as noisy on campus.

Founded as a student organization in the early 1970s, ACO was the result of the group Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO). Members of CCO have traditionally been the advisors for ACO — a role which Mollie Little, an Allegheny alumna, has held for 11 years.

Little encourages college students to attend the meetings and recognize God’s role in their lives.

 “God cares about every aspect of our lives: politics, career and even free time, and the way we do each of these things — something we’ve recently been trying to get through to students,” Little said.

ACO meetings may be a time for prayer, but they often include fun games and singing. Member Elizabeth Boykiw, ’11, particularly enjoys singing her praise.

“I look forward to the worship at the conclusion of ACO,” Boykiw said. “It feels wonderful to sing away your sorrows and trade them in for the joy of the Lord!”

Other meetings features guests who talk about their faith. Little thinks  everyone can benefit from hearing these speakers regardless of their religious beliefs.

“People are welcome to come to ACO even if they’re not Christian,” Little said. “We’re full of people who not only look different but are of different denominations.”

ACO leader Risa Nakajima, ’11, remarked on the welcoming atmosphere that attracted her to the organization. 

 “It’s a good place to be vulnerable, a place where you can practice your faith,” Nakajima said.

The chapel is not the only place the members exercise their beliefs; events are often planned outside the church. Kait Galbraith, ’11, an ACO leader, commented on the group’s other events.

“We’re very comfortable with each other so we try to encourage everyone to get together over the weekends,” Galbraith said.

These activities include, but are not limited to, Praise and Perkins, in which students drive up North Main Street to First Christian Church, sing songs of worship and then go out to enjoy an equally soulful dinner. Weekly Bible studies are also a way to be involved. Boykiw shared her positive experience from these get–togethers.

“My faith has benefited most when we break into small groups to read and study parts of the Bible,” Boykiw said.

One event which has ACO members extra excited this week is Jubilee, a prominent Christian conference. Often held in Pittsburgh, Jubilee is a weekend in faith with fellow Christian students from around the country.
ACO students may be enthusiastic at their group’s events, but Little admits they can be timid outside the church.

“A lot of us are passionate about our faith but we’re quiet on campus,” Little said. “We don’t want to step on toes and it’s hard to balance how excited we can be.”

Alongside becoming more vocal, there is also a renewed effort for service which has been encouraged by ACO’s new leadership team. They are coordinating a trip during the week of Spring Break to Pittsburgh Project, in which students help repair homes for needy residents.

ACO meetings are held Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. in Ford Chapel. Students looking for more information on ACO, related events or service projects, should contact Kait Galbraith at [email protected].