Posted by Musbah Shaheen on Friday, January 31, 2014
One of the greatest debates I had with myself when I got in was about how religious this university is, and whether it will be awkward not to be religious on campus. Vanderbilt is a secular university, not affiliated with any religion or denomination. On campus, we have complete freedom to participate in any religious activity we choose. There is a myriad of student organizations that represent all different faiths and religions.
When I got to campus, I wanted to participate in an organization that fosters interfaith dialogue, because I wanted to be exposed to the different religions on campus. And there they were, members of the Interfaith Council on my first week on campus with a bucket of ice-cream right in front of Commons Center. I attended one of the Council meetings and was immediately hooked. Now I’m the Freshman representative of the Interfaith Council.
So the Interfaith Council is the umbrella organization of all religious groups on campus. We meet biweekly to have an interfaith dialogue about different issues. Some times the topics are controversial, but the conversations are always respectful.
This week, we had an event that represents interfaith dialogue in the form of art. Different groups on campus participated in expressing their religion in form of singing, dancing, music and poetry. This was really one of the most interesting events I’ve been to so far.
One upperclassman told me on my first week at Vandy, go to any organization meeting with free food. You might end up in something you like. My experience with the Interfaith Council has been overall rewarding. Not only have I been able to participate in intellectual dialogue, but also connected with all kinds of students, both first-year and upperclassmen.
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