University committee on religion changes name to reflect diversity at K-State

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On Jan. 24, the President’s Committee on Religion officially announced it would be changing its name to the President’s Committee on Religious, Spiritual and Nonreligious Diversity.

The new name may appear to be a mouthful, but it was changed to more accurately reflect the religious diversity of Kansas State University.

In addition to a name change, the committee now reports to Bryan Samuel, chief diversity and inclusion officer. Previously, the committee reported to Vice President of Student Life Pat Bosco.

The committee itself is composed of faculty, staff and students with varied religious and spiritual backgrounds. They are charged with educating the campus on spiritual and religious diversity.

Recently, the committee distributed a calendar to faculty that included a variety of religious holidays. Christy Craft, chair of the committee and associate professor in the College of Education, said this would educate faculty on reasons why students and staff might need time away from the university due to religion.

“Ultimately, we’re trying to make sure that everyone on campus, regardless of their beliefs, feels like they belong,” Craft said.

Craft conducts research on spirituality and religion in higher education. She said national research has found that most college students expect to have discussions over spirituality and religion because college is a time for students to reflect on what they believe in and why.

Exposures to different religions, Craft said, allows for students to truly explore their own relationship with spirituality without the outside influence of their hometowns.

Craft said this is one of the many reasons why religious diversity is important to the modern college campus.

“A campus like K-State is an opportunity [for students] to learn from other people around them about what … other people’s beliefs are and why they’ve chose to believe like they do and then kind of re-evaluate their own,” Craft said.

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