Inaugural Multi-Faith Events Draw Crowds at USC Aiken
Aiken, SC (09/17/2019) — The University of South Carolina Aiken celebrated the diversity of the student body and the local area during its inaugural Multi-Faith Showcase and Panel Discussion.
"The Department of Diversity Initiatives created these events for a variety of reasons," said Hoss Brown, assistant director of USC Aiken Student Life-Diversity Initiatives. "We embrace diversity as the broad range of identities, experiences, backgrounds, and beliefs that make us each unique.
"As such, religion is very important to embracing diversity. We celebrate these differences as contributions to the community."
Approximately 20 places of worship, representing nine faith groups or belief systems, participated in the showcase, which took place in the Student Activities Center.
"We wanted to create the opportunity for new and returning students to establish connections to their existing faith or belief system-based communities or to establish links with faiths and belief systems they may be interested in," Brown said.
In addition, the effort was aimed at providing students the opportunity to hear and learn about faiths different from their own, such as Christianity - including all sects: Protestant, Catholic, Latter Day Saints -- Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Baha'i Faith, Paganism, Unitarian Universalism, Atheism and Humanism.
Following the showcase, Brown and a USC Aiken history professor facilitated a panel discussion, which gave students a chance to ask questions of panelists to better understand a variety of faiths. The panel featured eight guests, including faith leaders or representatives from Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Unitarian Universalism, Paganism, Sikhism, Baha'i Faith, and Christian communities. Other panelists were invited but were unable to attend the event, including Islam, Atheist and Agnostic representatives.
"We were extremely pleased by the turnout for both events," Hoss said. "From the attendance, it appears our faculty, staff and students are interested in learning more about perspectives outside their own."