Living and Learning in an Inter-Faith Environment

September 10, 2010 Features

This year, believers from many walks of life can be found at the very first interfaith Living Learning Community (LLC). Students from different faiths have volunteered to live together so that they can expand their horizon while working towards the global citizenship aspect of our Rollins mission statement.

Many people find discomfort being around others who do not identify with their own beliefs, and these ways of thinking lead to there always being a struggle for different faiths and beliefs to see eye-to-eye.

“I’m not so sure that I would be willing to go and live in a house with a bunch of people who all have different religions. It sounds like a conflict waiting to happen,” said a Rollins student who wished to remain anonymous.

On the flip side, there are others who are becoming more tolerant of the many faiths held by people in with world, and on this campus.

With assistance from the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), a group of Rollins students have taken it a step further and developed the Interfaith Hall, our campus’ first interfaith LLC, in a two-suite area of Sutton Apartments.

The members of the Interfaith Hall hope to form a representative group of all Rollins students comprised of believers of many faiths and non-believers.

Mahjabeen Rafiuddin, director of OMA, sees this as a very excited project that will bring a great and new perspective to campus living.

“Diversity education creates a learning environment where students can discover all the cultures that represent the United States,” said Rafiuddin.

In addition to the new LLC, there is the already established Interfaith Club, whose mission is to learn together and share an understanding of other faiths with the larger Rollins community.

The organization plans to collaboration with faculty, staff, and students to organize awareness-building events on our campus, such as community dinners and faith-based celebrations.

“[Living in the Interfaith Hall is] a unique opportunity to learn about other cultures and faiths. It allows me to broaden my horizons and, being a Jewish studies minor, it really helps me out,” said Dan Berlinger ‘13, a Political Science major who resides in the Interfaith Hall.

An article on R-Net about the Interfaith Living Learning Community quoted the Dean of the Chapel Patrick Powers as saying the following:

“If we are going to have a world where people are tolerant of each other, then we have to learn to sit down and talk with each other, eat with each other, pray with each other and live with each other.”

That same article also quotes Anna Montoya ‘13, saying, “The work that we do at Interfaith Hall is important because we live in a world where there is a lot of uncertainty about spiritual beliefs and out of that uncertainty comes a lot fear.”

I can get information whenever I have interfaith classes and get their personal views on different aspects of their faith that I wouldn’t be able to get from a textbook.

As for the experience, it’s been awesome so far. We stay up till almost two in the morning talking about religion, politics, sports, or whatever, and we just talk. The experience is just unreal,” said Berlinger.

Everyone is excited to see what the new Interfaith Hall will bring to campus this school year and eagerly anticipate its further development.

It’s a wonderful opportunity for this organization to make their beliefs a strong and core part of their everyday routine. It’s a very different experience that very few individuals get to experience, and so we look forward to watching them grow spiritually.

About Ed Leffler

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