Build a life that matters on firm ground.

The Terra Firma experience is all about helping you build a firm foundation (Latin meaning) as you continue to move forward as a follower of Christ and an academic student. It is a means for you to start off your college experience well by giving you the opportunity to get to know the Cornerstone community before classes start. This is achieved by placing you in a group of 10-12 students whom you will work with throughout your entire first year. Together you will engage in classroom discussions and service learning. To preview a course schedule and read blog posts reflecting on the academic year, visit the Terra Firma website.

The First Year Experience

With a pre-read assignment structured to facilitate group discussion during the course of your first year, you'll join committed disciples of Christ in articulating how to integrate faith, learning, and cultural engagement. You'll listen, participate, and respond in tangible ways to both local and global needs. And you'll build formational relationships with classmates, faculty members, residence life staff folks, and members of the university's campus community.

Core Values

The Terra Firma experience is built upon four things we passionately believe God cares deeply about in Scripture, and these key ideas will serve as the major curriculum concepts you will learn about during your initial year.


Jesus Christ is the most compelling figure in human history and longs for you to be a devoted follower of Him as a disciple and member of His church body.


You are designed by God to be in community where you experience deep and meaningful relationships with other followers of Jesus.


You are called to be a person of character who models integrity and godliness as you live out your faith for the world to see.


You are desperately needed in our culture to be a force for good and be fully engaged rather than separated from lives and communities that need to experience the redemption and restoration Jesus longs to bring to them through people like you and me. 

These four ideas are so compelling they are indeed worth basing and building your life upon! You'll grow and change as you examine these ideas in the academic and experiential realms and ultimately use them as a launching point into your college experience.

Student Leadership Cohort

For in-depth leadership training and development, apply to join the Student Leadership Cohort. You'll join a section of students passionate about excelling as leaders on campus and in their respective fields of study. Using selected readings to supplement the Terra Firma coursework and being mentored by staff members, you'll grow as a leader in community with other incoming students.

Passage Expedition

Journey with a small group of incoming students to northern Michigan for a five-day rock climbing and backpacking trip prior to the start of the semester. No experience required! For more information, contact Kristie Neff.

2015 Passage Expedition Overview