For religiously and spiritually inclined students, college can offer a range of experiences that can test their faith.

Both on and off the University of Colorado campus, though, there are a number of groups and faith centers designed to offer a place to practice faith.

Here`s a look at a few of the many faith-based groups at CU.

Campus faith

Chabad at CU

Where: 775 17th St., Boulder

Phone: 303-444-2775


Muslim Students` Association

Where: UMC Room 331

Phone: 303-492-4144


St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center

Where: 904 14th St., Boulder

Phone: 303-443-8383


St. Hillel at CU

Where: 2795 Colorado Ave., Boulder

Phone: 303-442-6571


The Annex: Real Life in Jesus Christ

Where: First Presbyterian Church: 1820 15th St., Boulder

Phone: 303-402-6400


Chabad at CU

Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm and his family moved to Boulder in 2005 to start Chabad. Continuing a tradition carried out by more than 4,000 chapters around the world, Chabad at CU was established to "service the needs of Jewish students -- undergrads, grad students and alumni," Wilhelm said.

Chabad holds a Shabbat dinner every Friday, a "well-attended" event with "50 to 100 students coming weekly," Wilhelm said.

Shabbat marks a time when "Jewish families get together and celebrate," with every week comprising "tasty, delicious meals for everyone, words of celebration and an optional service" before supper, he said.

CU`s Chabad organizes social events and services for all the major Jewish holidays, including Passover and Hanukah, as well as classes which offer students the opportunity to learn more about the Jewish faith, Wilhelm said.

Though Chabad at CU chiefly caters to Jewish students, Wilhelm said the group`s services and events are always there for "non-Jewish people who want to check it out."

Muslim Students` Association

"We`re a little bit like a family," said Rasheed Lawal, president of the Muslim Students` Association (MSA). "We reach out to students who are away from home, and (offer) a place people can call home."

The MSA is a "support network for Muslim students at CU," acting as "a social and cultural organization," as well as a religious one, Lawal said.

Along with weekly meetings and regular volunteering and social events for members, MSA organizes events celebrating Islamic religion and culture. Their biggest event is Sights & Sounds of the Islamic World, which is scheduled for Oct. 30 in CU`s Glenn Miller Ballroom.

Sights & Sounds is home to "different booths with members from their respective countries," Lawal said.

Participants dress up in "cultural costumes" and offer attendees many activities to choose from, including learning how to write their name in Arabic, a fashion show, "food from different cultures," musical performances and "skits that offer a comical look at being a Muslim at CU," he said.

Lawal said students needn`t be Muslims to participate in MSA.

"We have active members who aren`t Muslim," he said. "They just want to be around the people in the group."

Catholics on Campus/Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought

These two groups are on-campus offshoots of Boulder`s St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center.

The center is a church "serving the spiritual needs of Catholic students," and also provides opportunities for "social connection and intellectual and spiritual growth on and off campus," said Matt Boettger, president of CU`s Religious Campus Organizations group and the director of intellectual formation for the Thomas Aquinas Center.

Catholics on Campus is the center`s campus ministry, comprising Catholic students at CU as well as interested parishioners from the Boulder community, Boettger said.

The group holds many religious and spiritual events throughout the semester.

"We have 55 Bible studies throughout the week, mission trips during spring break, two retreats every semester, classes and weekly socials and parties," he said. "We also serve all of the students` sacramental needs."

The Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought is dedicated to the development of Catholic thinking, hosting lectures and bringing guest speakers to CU to talk about a range of issues from the religion`s perspective, Boettger said.

Hillel at CU

Another campus organization dedicated to Jewish life at CU is Hillel.

Serving the more than 2,000 Jewish students at CU, Hillel offers Shabbat dinners every Friday, bolstered by two separate services (one conservative, one reform), said Rachael Baer, a member of the Hillel student board.

Other events hosted by Hillel include weekly barbecues on Tuesday nights, an annual ski trip and community service work where participants prepare and bring food to nursing homes and houses around Boulder, a la Meals on Wheels, Baer said.

Hillel also organizes events around campus to recognize Holocaust Awareness Week every year, including having "Holocaust survivors visit campus to speak" and film screenings where "the directors often come to answer questions."

The Annex: Real Life in Jesus Christ

The Annex is the biggest Christian group at CU, and the second-largest student group at the university overall, said Director Bill Stephens.

The group combines "an introduction and in-depth look at faith in Jesus Christ" and how the words of Christ can guide students through the "enormous pressures" facing them in college, as well as "an opportunity to connect with other students, hopefully leading to a connection throughout their college years."

Annex meetings take place every Tuesday night during the school year, featuring a Bible study, a "dynamic worship" component and music, Stephens said. The Annex also organizes mission trips both locally -- helping the homeless in downtown Denver -- and around the world, to locations such as Jamaica, North Ireland and Costa Rica.

Located in Boulder`s First Presbyterian Church, the Annex is nondenominational, welcoming everyone from devout students to those who have never set foot in a church before, Stephens said. The group is passionate about building relationships around CU, from the administration to the Greek community, Stephens said.

On back-to-school day at CU, members of the Annex will be handing out water bottles with information about the group, Stephens said. This represents just one opportunity to familiarize yourself with one of CU`s many religious organizations.