The Office of Chapel Programs has lowered the amount of mandatory units that seniors must have completed before attending Senior Chapel.
Prior to Oct. 10, students were required to have 90 units completed. The new requirement for Senior Chapel is only 84 completed units.
“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from students who really wanted to go but couldn’t get chapel credit because of the requirement,” Associate Director of Chapel Programs Geoff Spencer said. “There are a lot of scenarios that have prevented these students from attending Senior Chapel.”
According to the university’s threshold, a student must have 90 completed units to be considered a senior. All completed units must be from classes that have been previously taken, and units from current classes do not count toward the requirement.
“What this means in terms of classes is that we have lowered the requirement by two 3-unit classes,” Spencer said.
The unit change was influenced by the impact the 90-unit requirement had on seniors who were unable to attend and Senior Chapel’s overall purpose to serve senior students.
“The whole point of Senior Chapel is connecting this special community, and we felt that making this change would help bring in more students without compromising the mission of Senior Chapel,” Spencer said.
So far, an average of 321 students attend Senior Chapel as well as several part-time students who attend despite not having a chapel requirement.
“The main goal of Senior Chapel is to provide a unique and special chapel space for seniors approaching graduation,” Spencer said. “This allows us to create programming and invite speakers whose messages are more relevant to students in this stage of life.”
For senior psychology major Kacie Finneran, Senior Chapel has done just that.
“Senior Chapel has been super fulfilling for me,” Finneran said. “It’s so great to be able to connect with people who are where I’m at in college. It’s been a nice time [to] reflect and think about where God is calling me after college.”
Senior sociology major Zurai Hechavarria said she is excited to finally be able to attend Senior Chapel.
“[Before the unit change] all my senior friends would say how fun it was, and I would walk past and see all the fun they have,” Hechavarria said. “So, it’s nice to finally go in.”
Hechavarria is also hoping to learn about matters not covered often in regular chapel services.
“In the general chapels, they’re always very surface-level, and I’ve heard the same message since I’ve gotten here; it’s lost its luster now,” Hechavarria said. “But with Senior Chapel, and with all of the theology classes we’ve taken, I expect to be talked to as someone who knows better.”
Senior Chapel caters to topics that prepare seniors for the next phases of their life while also encouraging them on their path to graduation.
“I want to encourage my friends in the senior class to look ahead at their graduation requirements and plan out their last two semesters wisely,” Spencer said. “If a hopeful senior is putting off graduation requirements like a CLEP test, unit transfers, or University Service Credits, the time to take care of it is now! I want their last semester to be fun and memorable for the right reasons, not from the stress of waiting until the last minute to complete requirements.”
Finneran also encouraged seniors to take advantage of the opportunity that Senior Chapel provides.
“I would say that when people want to go to Senior Chapel, be intentional,” Finneran said. “Know what you’re getting into, [because] Senior Chapel is really a time of preparation, honesty and really assessing where God is calling you and digging deep into what your vocation is. To be blunt, don’t go until you’ve really [started] discerning your graduation journey.”
Senior Chapel takes place every Monday at 9 p.m. in UTCC. Led by APU’s newest associate campus pastor Ta’ Tyana Leonard, the theme of this year’s Senior Chapel is: “Coming into Focus: God’s Perspective and Calling.”