Students Attend Interfaith Institute

Concordia’s Better Together interfaith movement got a boost at the National Interfaith Leadership Institute held at Emory University, Atlanta, in mid-January. Concordia was one of only 49 schools selected to attend the institute.

Kristi Del Vecchio ’13, Bismarck, N.D., was one of Concordia’s four student delegates. She appreciated how people from so many religious and non-religious traditions could take part in constructive conversation.

“We were able to engage with students all over the country, share stories and simply learn from each other, all in the hopes of bringing interfaith dialogue back to our campuses in a more powerful way,” Del Vecchio says.

One of the highlights of the conference was meeting Eboo Patel, author of “Acts of Faith,” Concordia’s summer book read in 2009. Patel encouraged the delegates to make interfaith dialogue a new civic norm.

Faculty adviser Dr. Jacqueline Bussie, director of the Forum on Faith and Life, accompanied the student delegation.

“It [interfaith dialogue] needs to become just like recycling,” she says. “It’s something you just do.”

The students came back with ideas to fuel Concordia’s interfaith movement. They are teaching a class session on interfaith dialogue in many Religion 100 classes. This spring, collaboration with the Student Environmental Alliance will bring green space to the empty lot next to the Gladys Ray Homeless Shelter, Fargo, N.D. “We’re coming together for the common good,” says Bussie.