Interfaith Extravaganza bridges gaps

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Attendees engage in discussion at the event.

Aleni MacKarey

Photos by Qi Yu ‘17

The Pfenning Alumni Center was buzzing with conversation from students, faculty members, and community members. As people lifted forks of multicultural cuisine to their lips, they passed smiles and tidbits of engaged discussion to one another.

This past Tuesday evening, all seven of the religious groups at Lafayette gathered together for the Extravaganza Interfaith Dinner Service.

The event, one of several taking place during the weeklong Extravaganza, was designed by the International Students Association (ISA) and sponsored by seventeen campus organizations.

During a dinner consisting of several unique dishes and desserts branching across different cultures, attendees were encouraged to sit anywhere in the room and chat with their neighbors.

“We create an interfaith environment that is almost unparalleled to anything else on campus,” said Rose Bayer ‘14, former president of the Hillel Society.

Through events like the dinner service, people are brought together in a unique way. Though everyone has their own beliefs, the interfaith community provides an atmosphere where people can come together and find commonalities.

Following dinner, a representative from each of the religious groups stood behind the podium and offered some brief thoughts on the event’s theme of charity. This theme was chosen to further exemplify the interfaith community message that while every religion remains individual, they each possess similar traits, such as their teachings on charity.

The Hillel representative began his talk by chanting an interactive prayer. The Buddhist representative noted that interfaith communities are central components for world peace. If everyone can learn to accept each other’s religious practices, the message explained, the world would operate on a much more open-minded scale.

“The interfaith community intertwines different cultures and countries with religions. It is always a lot of fun to intermingle these several new topics,” Guilherme Ferreira de Auila ‘16 said.

Students have felt that the interfaith community and specifically events like Tuesday’s dinner service have helped them facilitate meaningful discussions amongst their peers. Conversation focused on appreciation and valuing differences—not only in religion but in everyday life.

Extravaganza Week will close on Friday evening with a multicultural food tasting at 6:00 p.m. in the Marlo Room.