HPU’s Penny University ministry brings together a community of learners

By Rachel Ellington, HPU freshman

BROWNWOOD – December 18, 2012 – At Howard Payne University, there are many exciting organizations with which to get involved. One of the most popular choices is the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM), which has many opportunities for students including one of the newest ministries, Penny University.

Penny University is “a habitat for conversation,” says ministry leader Mary Vasquez, a sophomore from Blanket. It is an informal gathering where students and faculty can come together to discuss and ask questions about a broad range of topics concerning them as Christian members of society. For each topic being discussed, an HPU professor who is knowledgeable on the subject is asked to join the conversation. Anyone on campus or even from the community is welcome to attend.

Penny University began durinpenny_university_for_webg the spring semester of 2012, when Keith Platte, BSM director, was listening to a podcast discussing different fun facts about coffee. One of these facts happened to be about 18th-century coffee shops in England called “penny universities.” These establishments were places where people would pay a penny to drink coffee, share ideas and learn from each other freely. Penny universities were unique because, in the midst of a socially divided society, the customers were from a wide range of backgrounds. The main patrons, however, were students from the local universities. HPU’s BSM leadership team hopes to create this same kind of informal learning community. The main goals of Penny University are growth, discipleship and evangelism.

The ministry will continue in the spring 2013 semester. Dates and times will be announced when finalized. For more information about HPU’s Penny University or other BSM ministries, contact Keith Platte at (325) 649-8319 or via e-mail at kplatte@hputx.edu.

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Photo cutline: Dr. Art Allen, professor of Christian studies at HPU, center, leads a discussion for the BSM’s Penny University during the fall 2012 semester. Students pictured are David Stippick, left, a junior from Brownwood, and Mary Vasquez, a sophomore from Blanket. Photo by Jes Miera, HPU junior.