The USU Interfaith Initiative began as a grass-roots effort in the Spring of 2014 to identify resources and to provide tools for sharing authentically about our most closely held religious (or lack-of-religious) commitments, for engaging more productively with those who hold different views than we do and for building community across potential “faith-divides” on our campus. The USU Interfaith Initiative has deep roots and strong ties to multiple units and departments all across campus. Our Interfaith Student Association is housed in the Center for Access and Diversity in the Taggart Student Center. These amazing student leaders plan activities and events to promote interfaith literacy and raise awareness about the importance of interfaith cooperation all throughout the year.
The Religious Studies and Anthropology are two academic units that partner closely with the Interfaith Initiative. Courses like Introduction to the Study of World Religions (RELS 1010), and Anthropology of Religion (ANTH 3160) provide USU students with foundational knowledge about religious traditions as well as the important functions that religion fills in specific social and cultural contexts. A stand-alone training called the Better Together Interfaith Ally Training Program, developed and offered by Professor Bonnie Glass-Coffin to build capacity for authentic sharing and appreciative interaction, has helped train more than 190 in the past year. A new, cross-disciplinary program leading to an Interfaith Studies Certificate is currently in development. We also work closely with our local interfaith council and participate in community-wide events like our annual interfaith Thanksgiving service.
An Interfaith Advisory Council with representatives from both campus and community stakeholder groups helps to coordinate the many curricular and co-curricular elements of the USU Interfaith Initiative.
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