Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Volunteer Director of United Campus Ministries retires after three decades at FAU

Emily Nowselski said she is probably best known by students "for living at the United Campus Ministry table in the Breezway" and giving them anything they need. Photo by Charles Pratt.

After almost 30 years of distributing free food, pencils and hugs at FAU, Emily Nowselski says her goodbyes at age 86.

“I can remember the first freshmen class,” she said. “FAU only had 11,000 students at the time.”

Nowselski joined the FAU community in 1982 when she started working for what is now called Found at FAU, a Christian club where students gather to share in their beliefs. In 1995, she was asked to be the Director of the United Campus Ministry (UCM), where she’s been working ever since.

But Nowselski has decided to make fall 2011 her last semester at FAU.

As UCM’s director, Nowselski offered what is supposed to be her “office” as a commonplace for the 14 clubs that make up the Ministry. She allowed the clubs to use the space for whatever they needed. Currently, a different Christian club meets there five days a week to have Bible talks, bringing in different local ministers to lead these sessions.

While they did this, Nowselski promoted the club on a table in the Breezeway, offering brochures, free Bibles, pencils, scantrons, and snacks. When a minister couldn’t be there, Nowselski led the Bible study herself.

Although she held the title of director, she really saw herself as a facilitator for the all of the clubs’ needs.

“Sometimes people ask me if I’m the president of the United Campus Ministry and I say no, because I’m more like a base,” she said. “I’m really just a servant for all.”

Aside from serving UCM, Nowselski made it a point to serve as many people in the FAU community daily. John Hoyt, a campus minister who is paid by the South Florida Church of Christ to lead Bible studies for a Christian fellowship called Disciples on Campus, appreciated Nowselski’s hospitality in the six months he’s known her.

“Emily always focused to help students to know God, but also in their lives,” said Hoyt. “She’s concerned about the student as a whole.”

“I offer advice everyday to students,” said Nowselski. “A lot of students come in and ask for prayer and [they] talk about things. I listen, and then if I think of some input, I give it. Hopefully, it’s good advice. After I give the advice I ask the Lord to forgive it if it wasn’t from him.”

David Eagen, a junior English major, who has known Nowselski for a month, considers her one of FAU’s gems.

“I can tell you that she is the epitome of kindness and profound empathy,” he said. “Every time I see her radiant face, I light up inside.”

But even people who don’t know her, know her.

“I’ve never actually met her, but I’ve always seen her around,” said Isabelle Pergeaux, a senior intercultural communications major. “You can spot her kindness from a mile away.”

Now that her time at FAU is up, some of Nowselski’s colleagues and students don’t want to see her go.

“I’m already getting a lot of people saying, ‘Oh, don’t go,’ and thanking me for having been there,” she said. “I appreciate it, but it’s my time to go.”

“I’m so thankful for all the people that made it such a nice time for me through the years, and the hugs that the students give me. I really have lived in this love bubble.”

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