By LINDSAY CODISPOT
Allegheny students are focusing on faith this week with the many events of Jan. 24 through Jan. 30 centering on “Religion and Social Change.”
“Faith Week is really important on Allegheny’s campus because we don’t pay attention to faith a lot,” said Chrissy Wusylko, ’10, president of the Religious Life Council (RLC). “Most of the problems in the world are caused by religious differences, and the whole point of the week is to start multi–faith discussions.”
The student–run Religious Life Council, advised by Chaplain Jane Ellen Nickell, planned the events of Faith Week with the Office of Religious Life.
Because Martin Luther King, Jr. Day occurred on Jan. 18, Faith Week also includes events in commemoration of Dr. King.
Assistant Director of Admissions Tahirah Jordan, who helped plan the MLK events, explained the additional focus on the civil rights leader throughout Faith Week.
“Being that Dr. King was a man of faith, many of the messages he tried to deliver have religious roots,” Jordan said. “So the events of MLK and Faith Week will inevitably reinforce a lot of the same concepts and themes.”
In fact, Faith Week began on Sunday with an Ecumenical Chapel Service featuring the topic “Martin Luther King, Jr. as Prophet of Change.”
On Monday, students participated in a lunch discussion with Tobias Rose-Stockwell, an Allegheny alumnus who founded Human Translation. This organization has created antipoverty, health and education initiatives in Cambodia.
“Human Translation’s mission is about helping people get involved in action,” said Elizabeth Yale, ’11, who attended the discussion.
Another attendee and RLC member, Stephanie Miller, ’10, said, “Tobias is an inspiring person, especially since he is an Allegheny grad. Though he is not affiliated with a particular religion, the discussion fit right in with the Religious Life Council’s objective to find connections between people of different faiths and cultures.”
Tuesday evening’s events included a meditation session led by the Allegheny Unitarian Universalist students, while Allegheny Christian Outreach welcomed members of campus to Grounds for Change to talk about social change over coffee.
There are still more events to attend in the coming days including a dinner discussion on “Religion and Social Justice” hosted by student group Sojourners today at 5 p.m. in Campus Center rooms 301 and 302.
Later this evening, at 7 p.m., Nontombi Naomi Tutu, an activist for human rights, will lecture on “Striving for Justice: Searching for Common Ground” in the Tippie Alumni Center.
Afterward, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes invites everyone to attend their 9 p.m. meeting in Campus Center rooms 301 and 302.
On Friday, Hillel will celebrate Tu B’shvat Seder, also called “New Year of the Trees,” at 5 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center on Park Avenue.
As a part of MLK remembrance, there will be a food drive to help the local food bank in the Campus Center from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday.
Friday evening at 10 p.m., students can stop by the Campus Center Lobby to listen to the mellow sounds of Compelled, a Christian rock band, organized by Newman, the Catholic student group on campus.
“Newman was in search for a good band that all of campus could enjoy,” said Natalie Curtis, ’12, Newman’s publicity chair. “I feel that if you are open to good music and are willing to come and check them out you might be more compelled than you thought!”
The final event of Faith Week is the Progressive Dinner on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. The different courses for the meal will be served at various on–campus houses. Attendees will end up at the Religious Life House where a service project of making blankets for a local shelter will take place.
“Faith Week is very important because it should help people to cross religious barriers and be able to interact and understand their fellow Allegheny students from different religious backgrounds,” said Anu Venkatram, ’13, who is in charge of PR for the RLC.
“In the end, we have a community service project set up to show that one thing that all people have in common no matter their faith or beliefs is that they have compassion for their fellow human beings.”