Assistant Dean and Director of Leadership and Community Development Vanessa Christman and Rev. Susan Minasian, college chaplain at Franklin and Marshall College, have been awarded a $17,000 grant by the Pennsylvania Consortium for the Liberal Arts (PCLA) to increase interfaith literacy and support across all schools within the consortium.
The grant will fund “In It Together: Collaborating on Faith Zones Across Campuses.” Through In It Together, delegations of students, chaplains, and administrators from each PCLA school will participate together in a two-day workshop at NYU’s Faith Zone Multifaith Training Program. They will then create and deliver Faith Zone workshops back on their campuses to increase interfaith literacy and support.
“Many members of the Bryn Mawr community have faith traditions and practices that are important to them,” says Christman. “Through this grant, Bryn Mawr’s participants will deepen our understanding and gather new ideas—not only from the folks at NYU, but from other members of the Consortium. We will develop what we learn into programs and support systems on Bryn Mawr’s campus, customized to meet our own campus needs.”
Bryn Mawr College has been a member of the PCLA since its formation in 2014. The following spring, the Religious Life Cohort of the PCLA was formed with Christman serving as the Bryn Mawr representative. The idea for the grant project came from a monthly conference call, in which all members of the Religious Life Cohort identified interfaith support and literacy as shared goals.
The PCLA is supported by initial funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Teagle Foundation. The founding institutions, Bryn Mawr College, Dickinson College, Franklin & Marshall College, Gettysburg College, Haverford College, Juniata College, Muhlenberg College, Swarthmore College, Ursinus College, and Washington & Jefferson College (and later, Lafayette College), have agreed to collaborate for support of its primary mission of striving to enhance cross-institutional knowledge among the members to improve the quality of our institutions and programs, as well as to create opportunities for cost efficiencies. The PCLA’s activities will contribute to the national conversation about how America’s liberal arts colleges can address concerns such as increasing access and opportunity.