Spiritual Development & Chapels
The spiritual development of our students is a central dimension of Biola’s mission and education. Indeed, the Bible affirms that there is a spiritual knowledge that grows in us as we unceasingly engage with our God (1 Cor. 2:6ff). Learning to live “in Christ” is not only the Christian’s primary calling, but also leads to fruit (e.g., peace, hope, and patience) that help students identify and give themselves to their other callings (including their academic studies). The Dean of Spiritual Development and his staff provide many diverse ways for students to learn about, identify and engage with the transforming work and callings of God in their lives. There are more than 175 chapel opportunities for students each semester, offered every weekday, varying from large corporate gatherings for worship and teaching, to weekly prayer services and retreats, to one-on-one spiritual direction and mentoring.
Scripture provides the foundation for our teaching chapels, which also present biblically-based wisdom from across the disciplines. Through the close study of biblical texts integrated with scholarly, artistic and ministry specializations, teaching chapels provide wisdom for spiritual growth, relationships, missions and evangelism, justice, diversity and reconciliation, apologetics, and arts and culture, among several other topics. Structured prayer and worship services are provided throughout the week for students to learn the rhythms of the spiritual life whereby they can listen and respond to God’s Word and wisdom for their lives. The Torrey Memorial Bible Conference in the fall and the Missions Conference in the spring create space for three days of focused teaching on biblical themes. In addition, the university observes a planned Day of Prayer once each semester, which provides opportunities for corporate and individual prayer gatherings across the campus.
Weekly engagement with Biola’s Spiritual Development opportunities — which include chapels, retreats, and spiritual mentoring — are required of all undergraduates, and encouraged for all graduate students. (Graduate programs also have chapel services of their own.) Speakers are drawn from across the nation and around the world, but also include Biola's own faculty and staff, many of whom are sought after as speakers by other universities. Of course, the spiritual formation of students is taking place across the campus, in class, in advising, and less formally in the many discussions and prayer times that occur spontaneously among faculty, staff and students. More than 50 local churches are invited to come on campus annually to acquaint students with and invite them into these congregations.
In the context of community and gospel-centered ministry, students can serve in many campus, local and global ministries through prayer, discipleship, evangelism and outreach, proclaiming the gospel of Christ in word and deed. These opportunities for ministry range from the “Manna” ministry to the homeless, to the construction of pipelines that bring water to Honduran villages, to the “California School Project," which empowers and trains high school students in Southern California schools to share their faith with their peers. Nearly 100 students are involved in leadership with chapel programs, as well as local and global ministries, and receive weekly leadership training that prepares them not only for ministry, but also with vocational skills for life and work in a diverse world.
Pastoral care is available to all of our students, and is a safe and confidential place to discuss their relationships to God and others, their emotional needs, questions of discernment and calling, sexuality, theological doubt, or simply to receive short-term spiritual guidance and mentoring. Students are also encouraged to seek longer-term guidance through the spiritual direction program where students are matched with trained spiritual mentors who will walk with them throughout their years at Biola.
See the Spiritual Development website for additional information.
Student Government for Undergraduates
All registered traditional undergraduate students are represented by the Student Government Association (SGA), Biola's undergraduate student government. The mission of SGA is to equip student leaders to provide representation and advocacy for students' needs to university administration.
The SGA President and Senior Vice President preside over the two branches that comprise the student government, the Senate Branch and the Auxiliary Branch. The Senate Branch, consisting of elected Senators, holds legislative power of SGA and provides student voice in allocating the student fee, as well as determining funding and general support for student initiatives. The Auxiliary Branch includes appointed student positions that provide marketing and communications, finance, diversity and inclusion efforts, and office administrative support for SGA. As a student run organization, SGA is advised by a senior leader in Student Development.
SGA is located in the upper level of the Student Union Building and is open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. SGA staff can also be contacted at (562) 903-4882.
The office of Campus Engagement is responsible for year round programs and events dedicated to co-curricular involvement and learning of all undergraduate students. Involving 80 student leaders and led by the Director and other full-time staff, this office plans Fall and Spring New Student Orientation, supports 65 student led clubs, intramurals and fitness/wellness initiatives, and plans campus traditions and events including Punk N' Pie, Nationball, Mock Rock and Study Break.
Campus Engagement is located on the upper level of the Student Union Building and is open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Staff can also be contacted at (562) 903-4882.
Student Government for Graduate Students
Each graduate school has a student government program which provides leadership and activities appropriate for graduate students. For additional information contact the respective graduate school offices.
Student Missionary Union
The Student Missionary Union (SMU) is a student-led organization, founded in 1923, that has at the heart of its mission to glorify God and to see Him glorified. All of history is moving to a time when God will restore all of creation to what He had intended from the beginning. God began His work of restoration through Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. God has made us agents of that restoration by making us His ambassadors.
The Student Mission Union is a student-led organization that motivates and mobilizes students to align their lives toward the completion of the Great Commission.
SMU facilitates the sending of short-term mission teams to locations all over the globe, including such places as China, Mozambique, Mexico, Holland and Romania. They sponsor an Unreached Simulation, weekly prayer meetings and other events through their Prayer Ministries. The entire student body attends Missions Conference, which includes exciting events such as Global Awareness, where students experience another culture, and Explorations, where they can visit such places as a mosque or a Mormon temple. The Long-Term Missions Department seeks to answer many practical questions from students interested in long-term cross-cultural work.
SMU offers a multitude of opportunities for involvement with 25 staff positions and more than 100 volunteers each year. They are located in the upper level of the Student Union Building and are open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. They can also be reached at (562) 903-4881.
Intercollegiate athletics at Biola University provide men and women with interest and ability in athletics an opportunity to compete with other institutions of higher education whose size and athletic policies are similar. Intercollegiate competition for men is conducted in the following sports: baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis and track and field. Sports for women include basketball, cross-country, golf, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, soccer and volleyball.
Intramural activities are organized in both team and individual sports for men and women. This program is directed by the Student Government Association.
Students can gain experience and career preparation in reporting, writing, photojournalism, video production and radio work through one of Biola University's campus media outlets. Most campus media at Biola University fall under the Biola Media Board, which oversees selection of top leaders in each media group and their budget processes. Students from across the university can participate in The Chimes, Biola's weekly newspaper (including a daily online edition); The Point, feature magazine of the Biola Department of Digital Journalism and Media; Torch Radio, a Webcast operation providing music, news and sports coverage; EagleVision, Biola's news, feature and sports television Webcast, and The Biolan, a traditional yearbook. Some staff positions in these media receive payroll compensation, some receive scholarship funding, though funded positions tend to be chosen through competitive application based on job qualifications and prior media experience. Campus media are guided by the insights of appointed faculty advisors, all of whom serve on the Biola Media Board. Campus media advisors have professional expertise in the media they oversee, helping guide the skills of staff members toward pre-professional maturity of mind and skill.
The theatre major within the Communication Studies Department provides fall and spring drama productions and many student-driven productions for the campus and immediate community. These productions are open for audition to all students, faculty and staff. Theatre seasons include serious drama, comedies, original student and family productions.
Biola University has been ranked with successful speech squads among colleges and universities nationwide. In recent years, the Biola Forensics Team has particularly excelled in British Parliamentary Team Debate. As an active member of the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association, Biola regularly attends debates, individual events, and speech tournaments throughout the western states. Exceptional student performances qualify for national tournaments each year in individual events and debates.
Other Performance Opportunities
Presentational fundraisers for the forensics team, student film productions and occasional on-campus musical theatre productions have open auditions for all students, staff and faculty members. Seasonal chapel performances (Christmas and Easter) also utilize communication studies and theatre majors. Performance dates are spread throughout the academic year.