U religious groups diverse, thriving on campus

For U students who believe religious activities on campus are limited to those offered by the Latter-day Saints Institute of Religion, seeing isn’t always believing.

A visit to the Web site of the Associated Students of the University of Utah shows 15 student religious groups-from the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship to the Bible Baptist Study-receive funding.

Though the Latter-day Saints Student Association is the largest religious group campus with more than 15,000 members (though many of those aren’t active in LDSSA activities), the diversity of campus is reflected in numbers.

But the U isn’t the only entity to recognize the importance of supporting and embracing disparate religious groups for the benefit of all students.

In 2002, the U was ranked as the fourth most prayerful school in the nationby U.S. News & World Report, and the recent creation of a student interfaith council to promote and spearhead religious understanding on campus reinforces what those individual groups are trying to accomplish.

Some of the U’s student-run religious groups center on learning and discussion, while others spread their message through public events like the Muslim Student Association’s annual Ramadan fast-breaking or the Newman Center’s “Mass on the Grass” service.

But no matter the method or avenue, every religious group has as its core the same principle: providing students with a like mind the opportunity to come together.

Some groups may be seemingly lesser known-like the Reformed University Fellowship, a national organization on 56 campuses and the collegiate arm of the Presbyterian Church in America.

Other groups, like the Religious Studies Student Association, take anondenominational, scholastic approach to the study of religions around the world, and how they impact students on a university campus. Students can augment their religious interests at the U by extending that curiosity into the classroom and enrolling in a range of faith-related studies, from Institute classes to Jewish or Asian studies on campus.

Regardless of faith, the U is a vital resource for any student seeking a place to share his or her religion with others or for people simply curious to know about others’.

Adam Benson