Compassion, love and hope are some of the things ASCLU President Rebecca Cardone says hold humanity together. They are also the main inspiration for CLU’s Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC).
IFYC, a national nonprofit organization founded in Chicago in 2002, is now a part of the CLU community.
IFYC is a group dedicated to promoting religious equality, social acceptance and environmental justice. Its founder Eboo Patel is a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships.
Cardone, campus ministry member Jamie Morriss and religion professor Colleen Windham-Hughes, with the help of a grant given to them by the Vesper Society, were able to travel to Philadelphia and attend the Interfaith Leadership Institute.
They were given the skills for youth empowerment and knowledge about the complex subject of interfaith and its components.
“I’ve always wanted to do interfaith work on campus, but recently there has been a convergence of passionate leaders across campus that are really making interfaith a priority,” said Cardone.
IFYC’s goal at CLU is to work with the students and administration to seek a climate change on campus.
Also, the Core seeks to understand instead of simply agree on issues, said Cardone during an interfaith panel held to inform the Convocators about the goals of IFYC.
CLU is one of the first schools in California to be affiliated with IFYC.
Some of the group’s plans include launching “Better Together” campaigns to raise awareness about food and water usage.
Their belief is that the world is a common ground and as such, everyone should work together to preserve it.
At other universities with IFYC groups, they have launched campaigns such as “Speak Better Together” and “Eat Better Together.”
These campaigns seek a common understanding of world issues.
Morriss will host an interfaith panel in November, which will be one of the first official IFYC events.
IFYC wants to provide an environment in which students can come and learn about one another’s beliefs, not only to understand one another but also to become more aware of other cultures’ beliefs.
“Interfaith Youth Core is all about how to voice your own values from your own faith, religious or non-religious,” said Morriss. “How to hear and understand what other people’s stories and faiths are and that way engage with them and act on different shared faith values.”
An important aspect of IFYC is group community service and other collaborative projects.
“We want to be an on-campus liaison between different existing clubs and services on campus,” said Morriss. “IFYC wants to consolidate all these services so that we are addressing people’s different values and personal identity in a lot of ways.”
Understanding the needs of the community and the resources that it may be lacking or misusing is part of the idea behind the awareness campaigns that IFYC wants to provide to CLU.
Morriss found herself brainstorming about what vision CLU has for its community.
She found that some of the university’s statistics show different faiths it doesn’t interact with, even an entire faith community that is not represented.
Windham-Hughes feels that it is important to include different faiths as a diverse university.
“What I found is that we all have a common goal, an inward as well as outward faith,” said Windham-Hughes.
Published Oct. 24, 2012