Religious Literacy on Campus

10 Tips for Religious Literacy

Source: NYU's Global Spiritual Life

One

Refer to the Principles of Multifaith Engagement:

  • Reflect diversity, accounting for the complex and intersectional identities of our constituents
  • Rooted in face-to-face encounters and deep relationship-building within and between communities and/or individuals
  • Committed to social transformation and civic engagement (i.e., multifaith issue-based solutions to social problems such as poverty, prison-industrial complex, human trafficking)
  • Focused on introspection and meaning-making as a way of understanding spirituality
  • Inclusive of and attentive to personal narratives through intentional storytelling pedagogy, not just representative of religious creed
  • Supportive of integration of the whole student experience throughout their academic and co-curricular development
  • Supportive of coursework that promotes multifaith leadership

Two

Create a safe space that encourages dialogue. Approach every conversation with a  co-learner orientation.

Three

Ask people about their personal practices. Not all people within a religious community practice in the same way.

Four

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Let those around you know that they can voice a concern if something you say offends them. (Oops, Ouch, Wow)

Five

Whenever possible, organizers should reflect the diversity of those who will be participating in a particular event.

Six

Events should be easily accessible and comfortable for all potential participants. Some things to consider:

  • Religious holidays (calendars available on Pensby Center website)
  • Prayer times
  • Accessible buildings

Seven

At an event itself, ensure that the structure of the event is inclusive. Some things to consider:

  • Dietary needs such as kosher, halal, vegetarian, vegan, etc.
  • Physical contact between genders

Eight

Create an environment where people feel safe making requests for religious and spiritual observances or practice. Make it clear that there will not be ramifications for making that request.

Nine

Use inclusive language to welcome students who do not identify with a particular faith tradition or identify as atheist or agnostic.

Ten

Seek help or advice from Dean Christman, Rabbi Nora, Pensby Center staff, religious advisors, interfaith coordinators and other resources!

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Bryn Mawr College
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