University News

SUU Students Volunteer at the Parliament of the World’s Religions

Published: October 23, 2015 | Author: Celine Cont and Jordan Holiman | Category: Special Events

Southern Utah University students spent five days during their fall break volunteering at the sixth Parliament of the World’s Religions in downtown Salt Lake City. Around 10,000 people traveled from all over the world to attend the event. Speakers for the parliament included Dr. Jane Goodall, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, Terry Tempest Williams and many top religious scholars, writers, speakers and activists.

Students volunteered by facilitating breakout sessions and greeting attendees throughout the conference. In return for their volunteer efforts, students were also able to participate in the conference and learn more about global issues, worldly cultures and traditions. A memorable activity for students was when a Tai Chi Master offered a Qigong session to give the volunteers energy for their 10-hour shift.

Rachel Leibold, president of the SUU Newman club, was one of the volunteers for the conference. She is a member of Christ the King Catholic Church in Cedar City and said she decided to volunteer to understand and learn about religions from around the world. Another SUU student, Julianne Hinde a sophomore from California, said she enjoyed the variety of cultures she saw by volunteering. Hinde said what she learned at the conference has made her interested in opening an interfaith club on the SUU campus.

Christian van Dyke, the assistant director of the parliament student fellow program, spoke about the SUU volunteers with high regard, describing them as the “backbone” of the parliament student fellow program. “They were all willing to go above and beyond what we asked. The SUU students were a key part of making the parliament student fellow a success,” said van Dyke.

The Parliament for The World’s Religions is the oldest, largest, and most inclusive gathering of people of all faith and traditions. The Parliament of the World's Religions was created to cultivate harmony among the world's religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world. The first Parliament took place in 1893 and has been hosted in Chicago, IL, Cape Town, South Africa, Barcelona, Spain and Melbourne, Australia. 


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