Student group promotes unity among different religions

Panoramic Interfaith Effusion hosted a three-day conference to make connections in the campus religious community.

From April 26-24, the Panoramic Interfaith Effusion hosted a conference focused on interfaith training for students of different religious backgrounds. The different religions included BahaâÄôi , Catholicism, Baptist, Judaism and Islam. The religious groups gathered in six workshops, with topics ranging from teaching members how to explain interfaith cooperation to planning a future interfaith event on campus. PIE Vice President Jon Hartman said the main goal of the conference was to redefine interfaith work, analyze how the public perceives interfaith cooperation and to lay out a plan for next year. This year was really an experimental year for the group, and the inaugural year for the conference, which the group isnâÄôt sure will become an annual tradition. The inspiration for the conference derived from the Interfaith Youth Core , which originated in 1998 from Chicago. The vision of the IFYC is to build widespread public support for interfaith youth work through youth-focused institutions. PIE wanted to emulate these visions and brought Jenan Mohajir , a Muslim member of IFYC, to be the facilitator of the six workshops. Although the many participants in the conference, as well as the group, practice separate religions, Hartman said the group is able to look past their differences and work together. âÄúItâÄôs a reality that weâÄôre going to be working with people of different religions [in the future],âÄù Hartman said. Eve Shapiro , vice president of Hillel: The Jewish Student Center and an officer in PIE, said other organizations in the past attempted to do interfaith work on campus but flopped. Shapiro said because of the conference, PIE will be able to progress toward its goal. However, Hartman and Shapiro said the conference didnâÄôt have as much participation as they had expected. They said many organizations were busy and contacting them was the most challenging aspect of getting the conference together. University alumnus Ben Grimes had been involved with the BahaâÄôi Campus Association as an undergraduate and came to support the organizationâÄôs participation with the conference. âÄúWhile itâÄôs one religion, weâÄôre promoting the unity of religions and recognize that we can work together, he said. âÄúIt helped us redefine who we are.âÄù