“Dialogue to learn, to change, to grow, and act accordingly. Dialogue to share and receive from others. Dialogue with honesty and sincerity. Dialogue comparing ideals and practices. Dialogue to define yourself and to learn the self-definitions of others.” We believe in the necessity of interfaith dialogue among all the religions as an instrument of a sustainable society. -from Dr. Leonard Swidler's "The Dialogue Decalogue" Journal of Ecumenical Studies (1983)
Dedication to the ideal of Interfaith Dialogues and Initiatives goes back many years in Rollins history. A number of dialogues on campus were hosted by several student organizations including Hillel, Newman Club, and the Muslim Student Organization. About 10 years ago, Rollins even had an Interfaith Space called the ‘House of All Hopes’ where several students sought refuge, engaged in dialogue, and learned about one another’s’ faiths. Rabbi Siger, Exec. Director of Hillel of Central Florida, reopened the conversation of establishing Interfaith space and programs on campus. An advisory council, coordinated by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, was formed in order to assess the student need or desire for an Interfaith Space and to provide guidance. The Interfaith Advisory Council (IAC) wondered about the status of faith based students on campus: Do they feel safe? Are we as professionals on this campus being purposeful and intentional where students of all faiths feel welcome? After surveying over 200 students, the IAC discovered that many students felt there was a need for an Interfaith Space on campus, regardless of their spiritual affiliation.
In response to those surveys, the IAC has now gathered students who are committed to creating a new dialogue based Living Learning Community. These students have established an Interfaith Student Organization in the Fall of 2010, that will aid in providing a more well-rounded education for our student body. This initiative aligns with Rollins’ academic mission by providing educational opportunities geared toward spiritual exploration and growth.
Religious Days off Policy
The Office of Multicultural Affairs, in collaboration with Student Life Committee, has researched Peer and Aspirant colleges throughout the 2009-2010 school year, in order to develop a policy that would allow students to miss class when there is a schedule conflict with religious observances. This policy is to be presented to the executive committee of Rollins in order to establish a formal rubric for this to be successfully implemented on campus. The main goal is not to excuse students from work, but rather to foster a learning environment that is open to the uniqueness of each individual, and that prepares students to live and work in a global society. This policy should be enacted no later than Fall 2011.
Community Resource List
Currently, the students of Interfaith Hall/Club, in collaboration with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, have compiled a community resource list which will connect students of diverse faiths with local organizations where they can engage and participate in their various faith practices or activities.
Staff and Faculty Collaboration
These students collaborate with Dr. Yudit Greenberg, Cornell Professor or Religious Studies and Director of Rollins’ Religious Studies program, Dean of Student Affairs, Karen Hater, Dean of the Chapel, Patrick Powers Hillel, the Islamic Society of Central Florida, and Rollins’ IAC in regards to the need for an Interfaith Space where students can dialogue, host events, and learn about diverse faith expressions. Both an Interreligious dialogue and viewing of the documentary, “Inside Islam” have already taken place as a result.
In order to access the Office of Multicultural Affairs Religious Resource list Click here!