Alma College has numerous clubs and programs that allow students to connect with peers and faculty. The Interfaith program on campus seeks to bring students, staff and faculty together through the practice of spirituality, religious identity and spiritual exploration.
“Alma’s Interfaith program gives students a community to activate their spirituality and curiosity about faith. Students at Alma come from many different backgrounds, and we want to support every person’s exploration and discovery,” said Reverend Alissa Davis.
Though Alma College is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, the campus encourages religious diversity and holds various programs for students to practice and discover different religious faiths.
“The Interfaith program acknowledges this diversity and hopes to offer space and resources for people who are Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, Hindu and other faith traditions. The Interfaith program makes it a goal to teach how these various faiths can interact and work together for a common goal, “said Reverend Katrina Pekich-Bundy.
The Interfaith program works explicitly to bring community engagement activities in which preachers and speakers explore and dissect spiritual life at Alma College.
“Sometimes guest speaker conversations are held in person, and sometimes they chat with people further away in a zoom call,” said Davis. “Interfaith will also travel occasionally to visit different worshipping and cultural communities.”
The program holds numerous activities to welcome new students, such as t-shirt dying and kick-off events. Alongside their bi-weekly meetings every Thursday, the group also takes trips outside of campus.
“This semester, we hope to take a trip to Lansing to the mosque where Imam Sohail Chaudhry is the faith leader,” said Pekich-Bundy.
As of Nov. 3, 2021, Revered Alissa Davis returned to Alma College, where she now holds the title of college chaplain. Almost a decade after she graduated from the campus, she returned to her alma mater.
“I chose to come back because I’m grateful for my experiences (friendships, travel, personal growth and a great education) through Alma and want to be a part of offering that to the next generation,” said Davis.
Davis’s primary goal as chaplain is to create a safe and welcoming place for all people.
“I know many people have had poor experiences with faith communities, and we’re trying to undo some of that by taking a posture of hospitality. Even if you need a place to sit and process or talk through something, the chaplain team is here to support you,” said Davis.
To become involved in interfaith, students can find information about the program through Facebook and Instagram. Students can also reach out to chaplains or the Interfaith student leaders: Allyson Ehlert, Matthew Garland and Mariem Hamdi.
Religion can be a topic many students can struggle with as they begin to start adulthood. Even if students are unsure about attending church services or joining interfaith, leaders in the program always encourage students to try it out and ask questions.
“I tell students the same thing about any program: you won’t know until you try,” said Davis. “If you’re unsure, chat with Rev. Katrina or me and we can help answer specific questions.”
All of the leaders in the program are prepared to help any students when it comes to reassuring any uncertaities when it comes to interfaith life.
“If you are ever unsure about joining the program come and visit an event or a Thursday interview. Have a conversation with someone involved in Interfaith, come and ask as many questions as you need,” said Pekich-Bundy.
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