Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Faith Based Dialogue on a Public University Campus

Presenter Information

Erica HawvermaleFollow

Class

Article

Department

Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology

Faculty Mentor

Bonnie Glass-Coffin

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

The discussion of religion on a public university campus is precarious at best, especially when the university in question has a religious majority. Utah State University is one such institution, where the greater part of the student body orients around the Latter Day Saint faith. This study was designed to understand the lives of students of varying faith traditions. In particular, interviews with students discussed issues of closed mindedness, tolerance versus acceptance, pressures from the faith majority, and stereotypes/assumptions. Researchers gathered this information by conducting one on one interviews with students lasting 30-60 minutes. Interviews were set up like conversations, giving participants opportunities to expound upon points they felt most strongly about. Participants reflected that students at USU experience a lack of sustained and meaningful interactions with those of differing faiths. Students of both majority and minority faith traditions gave similar responses highlighting the fact that students want to be able to have faith based dialogue on campus in a manner that is open and welcoming. This study helps illuminate the importance of creating discussions within the community to engage members in positive interactions. Funding Sources: USU Undergraduate Research Fellowship, USU Diversity Council Grant, and the USU Research Catalyst Grant

Start Date

4-9-2015 2:00 PM

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Apr 9th, 2:00 PM

Faith Based Dialogue on a Public University Campus

The discussion of religion on a public university campus is precarious at best, especially when the university in question has a religious majority. Utah State University is one such institution, where the greater part of the student body orients around the Latter Day Saint faith. This study was designed to understand the lives of students of varying faith traditions. In particular, interviews with students discussed issues of closed mindedness, tolerance versus acceptance, pressures from the faith majority, and stereotypes/assumptions. Researchers gathered this information by conducting one on one interviews with students lasting 30-60 minutes. Interviews were set up like conversations, giving participants opportunities to expound upon points they felt most strongly about. Participants reflected that students at USU experience a lack of sustained and meaningful interactions with those of differing faiths. Students of both majority and minority faith traditions gave similar responses highlighting the fact that students want to be able to have faith based dialogue on campus in a manner that is open and welcoming. This study helps illuminate the importance of creating discussions within the community to engage members in positive interactions. Funding Sources: USU Undergraduate Research Fellowship, USU Diversity Council Grant, and the USU Research Catalyst Grant