Christianity is one of several religious traditions on a campus that includes followers of Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and paganism.
This fact of religious diversity has inspired the Student Life office to sponsor a Brown Bag luncheon panel discussion from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in CU1.
The talk is open to students and faculty, said English Professor Stephen Morrow, who will serve as one of the panelists. He said the panel of professors will answer questions and generate conversation about the topic of religion.
Morrow teaches a humanities course called Advocates of Peace and serves as the sponsor of a student club by that same name. He also teaches critical thinking and philosophy.
“The idea is to share personal perceptions on religion from different perspectives, and the importance of it in people’s lives,” Morrow said.
“We hope to answer questions from students and faculty about world religions or personal experiences.”
Morrow said he hopes to promote a larger sense of community between faculty and students.
“I want to see faculty and students come together to discuss important things like religion and to open up more relaxed lines of communication and the sharing of ideas, because that’s what college is all about.”
English Professor Jon Inglett also will be a panel member. Inglett teaches comparative religions.
“I think there is a commonality on campus to talk about religion,” he said.
“We really have a focus on multiculturalism and diversity, and religion plays into that. We do have a variety of religious students on campus and I think bridging the gap of differences is part of the educational process.”
Inglett wants students to gain insight and understanding about each other on a deeper level.
“It’s about connecting with empathy, having empathy for not only each other as human beings, but also understanding where we come from as human beings,” he said. “Not our differences, but our sameness, our core.
“It is not a debate. It’s a discussion.”
As word spreads, students are getting interested.
Amy Truong, a pre-medicine major, said she heard about it from her English professor and is excited to attend.
“I hope to just learn about other religions and their views,” she said. “I’m Buddhist and I only know my view of things. I’m very open minded but when I talk to people, they are very biased. I just want to listen from a neutral crowd.”
Truong said she also hopes a lot of people come to the event.
Sebghattullah Noori, an architectural engineering major, and president of the Muslim Student Association, also will attend.
“I am going to attend this event because I am really interested to learn about different religions and perspectives, and share my perspective with others,” he said.
Noori said he is looking forward to the opportunity to learn and understand the similarities that all religions share.
Joel Soria, a modern languages major will not be able to attend, though he expressed interest in learning about other religions and customs.
“I like diversity,” said Soria
“It would be nice to listen to what everyone has to say about their own religions and learn from them.”
For more information, contact Inglett at jinglett@ occc.edu or Morrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.