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Better Together ready for new semester

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With Eboo Patel-this year’s Lund-Gill chair and the founder of the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC)-gone, the question for DU’s interfaith club Better Together has come down to, “where do we go from here?”

Despite Patel’s absence, leaders in the group say that Patel’s presence on campus did not overly affect the plans that Better Together has made in the past.

Better Together is the student-led effort to increase interfaith knowledge. Hannah Minks, an active member in the group, said that Better Together is more focused on working with clubs and organizations than other departments in the school. She also said that they want to expose students to interfaith cooperation.

“We want to get people comfortable talking about their spiritual and religious identities,” she said. “We’re reaching out to more students through events on campus through clubs and organizations.”

Along with the work done by Better Together, University Ministry also entered a partnership with IFYC last year, according to University Minister Matt Palkert. Palkert said DU and IFYC together “assessed [Dominican’s] culture for respect of faiths and how to improve interfaith knowledge.”

This, along with the efforts of Better Together, helps make up a strong interfaith presence on campus.

David Gayes, another student involved in Better Together, said that they are hoping to use events that are already a staple at Dominican and combine them with learning about interfaith cooperation.

One of the events Better Together is planning is a speed-faithing event on Feb. 14. The members are also working to bring back the Interfaith Engagement Series. Lastly, the group is planning a Fast for Haiti event and a Seder for the Jewish Passover.

Cait Guerra, Contributing Writer

Lund-Gill lecture urges students to mobilize for interfaith cooperation

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The Chicago based Interfaith Youth Core founder and executive director, Eboo Patel, urged students on Nov. 1 to mobilize for interfaith cooperation during the annual Lund-Gill lecture in the Rosary Chapel.

“Twenty-first century religion can be a bubble of isolation, it can be a barrier of division, it can be a bottle of destruction or it can be a bridge of cooperation,” Patel, this year’s Lund-Gill Chair, said. “Those of us who seek to advance the bridge have to be proud and have to be proactive.”

Patel argued that a cooperation of interfaith literacy in the United States serves as a means to create smaller communities of peace to serve as role models for the world.

Patel, recalling an era of anti-Catholicism before and up to John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign, described the negative religious attitudes of the nation. The question presented — “What would you think, if the only thing you knew about Islam is 9/11, if the only thing you knew about Catholicism are the headlines over the past ten years?”— harnessed the thought-provoking ideas Patel related to the formation of negative attitudes.

“Appreciative knowledge and positive relationships open up peoples’ attitudes and as people have a more open attitude towards other religious traditions and religious communities they seek more positive knowledge, they seek more proactive and appreciative relationships,” Patel said.

After his lecture, he answered Donna Carol’s question which asked, “why college students?” Patel said college students have the most energy and motivation to inspire others to participate in interfaith cooperation.

In 2010, Dominican entered into a formal, multi-year partnership with Patel’s Interfaith Youth Core. The goal of this partnership is to advance a culture of interfaith cooperation and understanding on campus.