Celebration of Interfaith Collaboration and Exploration at Stetson, April 8-12

Better Together Week at Stetson, April 8-12, is a celebration of interfaith collaboration and exploration with students of all faith traditions and no faith tradition encouraged to gather in fellowship.

And the timing, according to University Chaplain Rev. Todd Campbell Jr., director of Religious & Spiritual Life, could not be better. 

Rev. Todd Campbell Jr.

“In a time of much division in our work and country,” Campbell said, “it is vital we have a week dedicated to highlighting the importance of working together across religious, spiritual, philosophical beliefs and different identities. Our students are presented with the opportunity to collaborate, educate, learn and practice as they prepare for the world beyond college.”

Better Together is a national campaign promoted by Interfaith America to encourage student interfaith activity. Through programs such as Better Together Week, students learn about faith traditions other than their own, identify common values and work together on community service projects. Founded in 2002, Interfaith America stated mission is to equip “individuals and professionals with the knowledge and skills needed for leadership in a religiously diverse world.” 

At Stetson, Better Together first emerged in 2019, when a group of four students on campus, the Interfaith Values Fellows, saw there was a community need to “positively engage with people of other belief systems as Stetson students become young global citizens,” noted Reed Barkowitz, then one of the Interfaith Values Fellows.

Reed Barkowitz

Barkowitz, currently Stetson’s Hillel program director, continued: “I firmly believe that need still exists in our campus today. Now more than ever, it is imperative that we come together and honor our differences, share our experiences, and celebrate all that each one of us has to offer.”

Not coincidentally, today’s group of Interfaith Value Fellows has taken a lead role in helping to shape the featured events of this year’s Better Together Week.

“The hope of Better Together Week is to bring people who may never have interacted with one another into the same space to engage in meaningful dialogue about their faith traditions,” commented Ben Staskowski, Interfaith Engagement coordinator – America Vista. “It’s a time for connection and exploration that will show students that our lives and communities are better together than they are apart.” 

Notably, there are two other initiatives on campus in April that neatly coincide with Better Together Week: United Against Hate and The Central Florida Pledge.

United Against Hate involved training on April 2, provided by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Middle District of Florida – Orlando Division, to help combat hate crimes. The Central Florida Pledge is a regional call to action for residents seeking to create a safe and inclusive community for all.

Better Together Week at Stetson

Monday, April 8

Religious and Spiritual Student Orgs Tabling, 2-4 p.m., Stetson Green

Students can learn about campus religious and spiritual groups, how to get involved, and how to have your religious, spiritual or philosophical beliefs represented at Stetson

A Vigil by Students Concerned for Palestine, 4:30-5 p.m., Palm Court

Students gather to remember and honor Palestinians who have lost their lives.

Tuesday, April 9

Annual Holocaust Memorial Lecture, 7 p.m., The Warren and Barbara Carr Stetson Room (CUB)

Dr. Jennifer Evans, professor of History at Carleton University, lectures on “The Third Reich’s Other Victims: Queer Identity & Holocaust Memory After Fascism.” RSVP by emailing [email protected]

Wednesday, April 9

PAUSE for Eid Al-Fitr, 7-8:30 p.m., Allen Hall
All may join Muslim students to celebrate the end of their month of fasting and learn more about Ramadan and Islam.

Thursday, April 11

Things We Don’t Talk About at Dinner: Religion, 7-8:30 p.m., Library Room 25L

This is an engaging, collaborative discussion on the topic of religion over dinner. 

Friday, April 12

Shabbat Grill Out and Raffle Prize, 6-7:30 p.m., Jeffrey and Diane Ginsburg Hillel House

Wrap up this year’s Better Together Week in community with great food and a raffle prize. All are welcome!

-Michael Candelaria