Four members of the Interfaith Student Council traveled to participate at the Interfaith Leadership Institute at New York University this summer, learning how to work better together.
From August 10-13, the students worked with others from around the country to develop action plans to bring back to their college campuses.
“There was only one other college from California, there was a bunch from the Midwest, the East Coast and even Abu Dhabi,” said Armando Tapia, junior television broadcasting major and conference attendee.
The students who attended the conference brought ideas back to the Interfaith Student Council on campus by planning events such as peace walks to take place throughout the semester.
“We will be having an interfaith walk, incorporating the theme, walk better together, allowing people on this campus to have understanding of all kinds of life experiences,” said Caleb Ulrich, senior religion major and president of Interfaith Student Council.
This walk along with others will be taking place throughout the fall semester. One of the walks will end at a food shelter in Pomona, and participants will be asked to bring along food donations.
Another event the Interfaith Student Council is working on is a “Day Without Shoes” campaign where students donate shoes to a local shelter.
The four students representing La Verne at the conference are of a different faith, cultural background and lifestyle.
The students spent three days to learn ways that they can bring a sense of understanding back to La Verne.
Interfaith Youth Core, the organization which put on the conference, was founded by Eboo Patel, who spoke on religious cooperation during the three day experience.
Building support among different religions instead of allowing it to tear people apart is the philosophy behind the interfaith movement.
“Our goal as interfaith leaders should be to find commonalities with other people of different backgrounds so that we can create social change through that commonality,” said Kayln Taylor, sophomore political science major and conference attendee.
The conference also impacted the student leaders as individuals, helping them to expand their views. The conference encouraged them to learn about others’ faiths and beliefs.
“At the conference I got the chance to learn more about Jainism, Paganism and Atheism,” Taylor said.
“I really want to continue to learn about all world views so I can better our interfaith community by being able to reach more people.”
Above all, the goal of the interfaith community at La Verne is to create understanding within the student population.
“We have to be able to understand where each other is coming from,” said Ulrich.
Students come together each week at Interfaith student council to increase mutual understanding.
“Despite our differences, we can come together for a common good and make not only our campus but the world a better place,” Tapia said.
Interfaith Student Council meets every Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Chapel.
Kellie Galentine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.