PLNU is not only a place of academic excellence but also a faith-based campus community where you’re encouraged to grow in your spiritual journey. That’s exactly what the soon-to-be senior Frank Aulenta experienced serving as an Alpha Group leader while pursuing a degree in history and a teaching credential at Loma.
Designed for first-semester freshmen, Alpha Groups provide an opportunity for residence halls to build a unique and lasting community by meeting together regularly to participate in spirit-led reflections, hall bonding activities, thoughtful discussions, and creative acts of worship.
These groups are a place to grow as you learn more about yourself and your faith journey. Alpha Groups are also “a good place to have fellowship with your hall and just hang out,” said Aulenta.
“I would go [to my Alpha Group freshman year] very consistently. Even when it wasn't a big gathering, I appreciated what they did for us. I saw my Alpha leader, Matt, all the time cuz he was also in a history class with me. I was with him through the rest [of his college career],” reflected Aulenta.
Aulenta’s experience connecting with his upperclassman Alpha leader stirred him to lead a group of his own. “That was my plug into the upperclassman world,” explained Aulenta. “That's a big reason why I did Alpha. I thought it'd be nice to do that with some freshmen.”
"For someone who is looking into Point Loma, I don't think there's a better place to grow your faith, serve others and get to be part of a community."
His love for Alpha continued his junior year when he became a Family Group leader, whose job it is to pour into a group of Alpha leaders. Being involved as an Alpha leader and Family Group leader were catalysts for spiritual growth through community. “I learned a lot from my ‘alphies’ and my family group ‘groupies,’” recalled Aulenta.
As an Alpha leader in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, “I got to interact with my ‘alphies’ and [talk about] what it's like being a freshman during this really weird time we were all experiencing,” said Aulenta.
“We had many similar fears and doubts like, ‘What am I gonna do with this college education,’” continued Aulenta. “It was cool to give them some wisdom with that.”
Alpha Groups can have an indelible impact on students’ spiritual growth by carving out an intentional time to check in on one another, a space for people to come as they are and fellowship with their hall members, share aspects of their lives, and pray for one another.
“As an incoming freshman, you can look forward to building your hall community and getting to know someone that's older than you on campus, which plugs you into the rest of campus,” said Aulenta.
“At Point Loma, you have the opportunity to surround yourself with open-minded people who are really down to learn about the gospel and down for God-focused community and lifestyle."
“Alpha leaders are very much like servant leaders dedicated to you,” he explained. “They’re also a good safe space for you — so come as you are.”
Being an Alpha leader also refined Aulenta’s walk with Christ and went “very much hand-in-hand with the faith experience of Point Loma,” he recalled.
“When I started to get involved on campus through Alpha, my faith deepened and my desire for that kind of community grew,” revealed Aulenta.
“At Point Loma, you have the opportunity to surround yourself with open-minded people who are really down to learn about the gospel and down for God-focused community and lifestyle,” he elaborated.
“I really expanded my worldview,” Aulenta continued. “For someone who is looking into Point Loma, I don't think there's a better place to grow your faith, serve others and get to be part of a community.”
In Aulenta’s experience, Loma makes getting involved on campus easy — case in point: Alpha Groups. “If you intentionally go in with the mindset of: ‘I’m going to be part of this community,’ you’ll have an amazing college experience where you grow both your faith and relationships with others.”