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Scott Strasser

Multi-faith student council on the horizon

By Scott Strasser, July 25 2016 —

The University of Calgary’s Faith and Spirituality Centre will soon form a student council of leaders from various faith, cultural and religious clubs on campus.

Faith and Spirituality Centre manager Adriana Tulissi said the idea came last year when the centre was researching for its Kaleidoscope Project — an initiative devoted to engaging students in inter-religious dialogue.

She said many university campuses in the United States have informal student alliances built around collaboration between faith, culture and religious-based groups.

“We just thought, wouldn’t that be neat to do something like that on our campus,” Tulissi said. “I think it really mimics what our centre is about — building an inclusive campus. And building an inclusive campus is about building relationships.”

There are 25 cultural or ethnicity-based and 16 spiritual or religious student clubs at the U of C. The Faith and Spirituality Centre is reaching out to those groups to see if they would like to have representatives on the council.

“We’re very much in the consultation phase,” Tulissi said. “We just did the draft proposal and consulted with the Students’ Union and the rest of the university.”

The council would likely meet once a month and be chaired by a member of the Faith and Spirituality Centre.

One club that Tulissi said has already expressed interest is Power to Change, a Christian students’ club.

“It’s great when the university is a place where students are encouraged to discuss and engage with how faith and spirituality intersect with real life,”  said Power to Change U of C president Sharon Hau.

SU vice-president student life Patrick Ma said he supports the idea of a multi-faith student council.

“I think anything that promotes pluralism or inclusivity on campus is great for student experience,” Ma said. “Especially with this council, it’ll be a great source of advocacy for faith-based clubs and that particular student voice on campus.”

While the idea is still in its infancy, Tulissi hopes to formally launch or announce the multi-faith student council at the Faith and Spirituality Centre’s annual inter-faith kickoff dinner on September 29.


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