UVU Interfaith Student Council prepares for Interfaith Week on campus
Reading Time: 2 minutes Tayler Fearn, co-president of UVU’s Interfaith Student Council, shares details of the upcoming Interfaith Week. “[Interfaith] … is really about building relationships and coming to a point of understanding across lines of difference.”
From April 11 through April 14, UVU’s Interfaith Student Council (IFSC) will be sponsoring “Interfaith Week,” a series of activities in which attendees are encouraged to learn about and engage with students of differing religions and worldviews.
According to the Interfaith Student Council’s Instagram (@interfaithuvu), Interfaith Week will feature:
• Meet-and-greet table with members of the council on Tuesday
• Bridal Veil Falls excursion on Wednesday from 5-7:30 p.m.
• Grit Garden project on Thursday from 5-7 p.m.
• Building Bridges forum on Friday from 3-4 p.m. at the Roots of Knowledge exhibit
More locational and descriptive information can be found posted on their Instagram.
According to their website, the mission of the IFSC is to “[engage] in interfaith leadership by facilitating conversations and organizing events for students from a variety of worldview (religious, spiritual, and/or secular) perspectives.”
IFSC explains that the council is composed of “select students” who work alongside clubs, other campus organizations and the community, striving to “increase religious literacy, grow respect for every individual worldview, build understanding relationships, and work in cooperation with different worldview communities.”
The IFSC’s main vision is to realize religious pluralism, “a world where people of differing religions and worldviews can live and work together in peace while maintaining their distinctiveness.” In striving for this vision, Interfaith Week has been an important event held by the IFSC.
The history of Interfaith Week was explained by Tayler Fearn, co-president of the IFSC and UVU sophomore studying bioinformatics.
“For the past couple of years, Interfaith Student Council has done something called, ‘Better Together Days,’ … a nationwide event with a group that was called ‘Interfaith Youth Corps.’ The Interfaith Youth Corps involved many different universities that also had interfaith councils, and Better Together Days usually emphasized a specific topic and how it related to individual beliefs.
Now, however, “[Interfaith Youth Corps] dissolved and turned into Interfaith America and gave people more leeway to do what they want,” Fearn explained. For this reason, UVU’s IFSC now has the freedom to “have a week … [by which they] hope to increase engagement around campus.”
Fearn has personal experience in understanding the importance of interfaith groups on campus, especially in Utah County. “I am from Canada (originally), and so one thing [that was a] culture shock for me coming here was [that] religion is very important … and there is a majority worldview,” she said. Fearn defined worldview as referring “to your secular, spiritual, or religious identity.”
“Coming from Vancouver, I was very shocked by how people-oriented around religion, and it was very public,” Fearn recounted. “I also saw that in some ways, it can be divisive.”
“So that is why I wanted to join Interfaith Student Council and why I really love what we do. … We try to build bridges across those lines of difference and help people come to a point of understanding,” Fearn explained. “It’s not typing to convert people, but just like: ‘Oh! We may not agree on everything, and we’re not going to downplay those differences, but we do have these common values that allow us to work towards the common good while still maintaining our distinctiveness.’”
UVU’s Interfaith Week welcomes all students and encourages open and respectful dialogue between members of all secular, spiritual and religious backgrounds. For more information on this event, please visit UVU’s Interfaith Council Instagram @interfaithuvu.
For more information about the council itself, please visit its website, uvu.edu/interfaith.