Manchester University
Oak Leaves

November 17, 2017

Campus Interfaith Board Teaches Community New Perspectives 

Lexy Underhill

The Campus Interfaith Board offers opportunities for students to celebrate and learn about their own personal beliefs, traditions and faith experiences, as well as those held by other members of the diverse university community. The ultimate goal is to encourage others to develop an authentic faith. Student Arpan Paul is the president of the Campus Interfaith Board and works closely with pastor Rebekah Houff.

“The biggest challenges is getting the word out about the different events," Houff said. "There are so many great things for students to do on our campus and we strive to plan events that are both important and interesting, but we don’t want to oversaturate people with advertisements and we can’t control who chooses to attend.”

Campus Interfaith Board activities include worship services/experiences, fun activities and educational events (such as Sacred Spaces trip). The board also focuses on a special theme week such as Focus on Faith Week in the fall, and Peace Week in the spring.

The week of Nov. 6-10 was Focus on Faith Week and a time to learn about worship. During Focus on Faith Week, two VIAs were presented. One VIA was Sankofa: A Journey towards Racial Righteousness. “I really liked learning about the differences of racial discrimination; it is an issue that goes on and needs to be addressed,” said first-year Taylor Erfman.

The second VIA was “Toward an Interfaith Solidarity for Our Global Crisis.” “I really enjoyed the Interfaith Solidarity VIA," said first-year Allison Kelly. "It gave me a perspective about faith that I enjoyed learning about.”

Other activities that took place during Focus on Faith Week included a lunch discussion, Worship at the Chapel, Drum circle, “Meditation and Mindfulness,” Religious Tolerance and Respect Workshop (via the CARE Initiative) and the Baha’i Workshop, from Fort Wayne.

If students brought their passports to every event and received stamps on the passport, they got a prize at the end of the week. “I think having a week dedicated to faith is really nice, said first-year Alex Whittig."It is a discussion that is very overlooked. It is nice that the campus does this to get students to be reactive.”

Houff was pleased with the turnouts at the events. “Overall the week went really well," she said. "The board worked tirelessly to plan and implement quality events that further the mission of the board. We had larger attendance at most events than we did last year and a variety of students attended; it wasn’t the same people at every event. We look forward to Peace Week in the spring.