Religious leaders prepare for holidays
Jaylen Carr – Sports Editor
With many religious holidays approaching, university religious leaders support students through holiday-related events regardless of religious background.
Campus Minister for Catholic Outreach Brooke Armistead, the religious leader of the universities Catholic Ministry, said, “We do a lot of volunteer work, bible studies; really try to foster a community for Catholics to come together for a community and support.”
Communication major and Armistead, a senior, is also a student on campus and said this is her first year as a campus minister and had enjoyed it.
“We offer bible studies once a week; really trying to focus on the community on those events,” Armistead said. “We are just trying to bring together the community.”
Rabbi Barbara Paris, the advisor for Hillel, which is the Jewish Student Organization, has served the past four years leading the organization.
“We have a good core group and lots of things going on in the group,” Paris said. “I view my role as trying to do outreach to any student who may identify with the Jewish faith or just wants to learn more about the Jewish faith.”
The many religious organizations on campus try to teach about their faith and make it inclusive for everyone regardless of their upbringing.
Paris said she has an open door for anyone at the Interfaith office on the second floor of the Adanti Student Center and views her role as a student resource.
According to the university website regarding Multicultural and Interfaith Organizations on campus, “The Hillel Jewish Student Organization provides a framework in which individuals can come together to share, experience, and explore Judaism’s culture, heritage, religion, practice, and civilization.”
Paris said because there were dedicated students that worked with her, they wanted a Hillel to exist. “We have been able to start a Hillel, maintain it and grow it.”
Intervarsity Christain Fellowship, also called IV leader Glenda Marcelin said a big part of the job is making herself for students.
“IV is a group that basically allows multiple different faith backgrounds,” Marcelin said. “We meet up on Tuesdays, and we’ll look in try to understand how the word applies to our lives as college students. We really welcome anybody from any type of faith background because we want people to understand how Jesus is.”
Marcelin said the organization recently went on a mission trip to New Orleans.
According to the university website regarding Multicultural and Interfaith Organizations on campus, Intervarsity “practice taking risks, being brave and going out as a community to share the love of God with all people. Our group is for people who want to learn about God, who identify themselves as Christian and those who are just curious.”
Paris said in the Hillel organization, she would dub some of her students into the organization as cultural Jews.
“They like being part of the Jewish community, they like the holidays, they like food, they like the traditions,” Paris said. “But they wouldn’t necessarily say that they are regular synagogue goers; they are not very religious in their minds.”
Paris said the organization is doing a spring cleaning as they get ready for Passover. “We talk about what we personally what we want to clean out from ourselves.”
Paris said the origination always has Shabbats, or a religious gathering weekly and follows the Jewish calendar throughout the academic year.
Armistead said despite not having a religious title, she was always there to help support students.
“We do have a priest and a nun available for students if they need someone in that category,” Armistead said. “I work out of the Interfaith office with Rabbi Barbara, and we have snacks; students can come in if they have questions; if they need support, I’m the one they would reach.”
Some religious organizations find it easy to spread the word about their organization on campus, but others find it difficult.
Armistead said the Catholic organization is present throughout social media. “We don’t just post events; we also like to post inspiring stiff or things that Catholic wants to see.”
Paris said Hillel faces some challenges with reaching out to students because of the HIPPA or privacy laws; the university does not provide information about students’ religious identity.
“We have the club fair, but I have to say one of my favorites is called ‘Grilled Jesus,’ Marcelin of Intervarsity said. “We’ll get contact cards from everyone body which filled out contact cards from one of our tabling events.”
Students would then send questions about life, the organization, or our faith and get those questions answered, met by an organization member, and receive a grilled cheese sandwich or Nutella sandwich, Marcelin said.
Armistead said, “the Interfaith office is coming together to put students from each religious organization to have everyone come together for support, prayer request instead of having the Catholics separate, the Jewish groups separate. Having everyone come together is what Interfaith is.”