Laurentian University’s Emet for Israel group, Jewish Student Association (LUJSA), organized a great initiative, which was in partnership with LU’s Muslim Student Association and the university’s Christian Fellowship. The groups came together to hold an interfaith dinner and discussion at Tandoori Tastes restaurant in Sudbury, Ontario, which took place on the night of April 2nd.
The event was a positive experience and highly successfully in that it sparked a respectful dialogue between these religious groups on campus, groups that may have had pre-conceived notions about the other’s belief system. Each student faith group presented the core tenets and history of their respective religions in a “What you need to know about my faith in 15 minutes” format. This interactive question and answer structure proved to be both engaging and informative.
Following each presentation, students broke out into sessions throughout which students of opposite faiths were encouraged to ask each other anything they found troubling or unclear about their religious background. This was done in somewhat of a game show fashion. Each listener had the opportunity to answer questions about a different religious group, and could win gift cards if the correct response was given.
In total, there were sixty participants, which was an unbelievable turn out. It showed that when given the chance, students of different religious upbringings do still possess a curiosity of the “other.” People of varying religions are open to dialogue and learning about their history and unique practices. Overall it was a truly eye opening experience for many of the attendees and a refreshing one for students who often feel threatened because of their faith. This was a step toward genuine understanding and coexistence on Laurentian University’s campus.