[media-credit name=”Morgan Tencza” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]With 515 Sherman Avenue housing the new Theatre Arts Center, a state-of-the art Center for Religion has replaced College of Arts & Sciences 2.
Upon entering, the archaic vending machines are replaced with high tables and comfortable chairs. The bare walls are refreshed with a new coat of paint and flat screen TV’s, which are placed throughout the entire building. In replacement of the main music classroom, there is now a large room which offers an educational experience that no other space on campus could offer.
This educational experience is what Father Jordan Lenaghan, the executive director of university religious life, believes enables students to enter into the world classroom.
“We need students to engage in a trans-historical and profound conversation,” Lenaghan said. “The primary focus is to increase religious literacy and to allow students to interpret and continue conversations which require ethical thinking.”
The new Center for Religion will also help students understand their world and will encourage them to apply what they learn on a personal level, to the global stage, according to Lenaghan
Freshman Cameron Paroy, who identifies as an Episcopalian, is interested to see what the center offers for students.
“Religion is an important part of campus life,” Paroy said. “If you are religious, you should have options to pursue your individual needs. I would want to feel comforted and have the center be useful.”
The Center is for all religious denominations. However, if students feel they need a specific religious need fulfilled, the center for religion can support them.
“The center focuses on bigger issues within religion and the world,” Lenaghan said. “However, there are obviously going to be separate program vectors within the center. If a Muslim student wants to pray, we have a Muslim prayer room. If a Catholic student wants to pray, we have a chapel. Individual student religious desires will be satisfied.”
The cutting-edge center plans on hosting a plethora of programs. As the semester continues, the Center for Religion’s “assembly room” will be a ground for presenters and academics alike to share their views/interests with the community. On Sept. 19, for instance, Michael O’Loughlin, who is the national correspondent for America Magazine, will be presenting “God, Guts & the Pulitzer: Religion & Journalism in a Time of Social Unrest.”
Andrew Czaja, a sophomore with no religious denomination, is intrigued about the new center.
“There are a lot of religious people on campus. If this center wants to integrate and increase a sense of togetherness within the Quinnipiac community, then I am all for it,” Czaja said. “Even though I am not religious, I am interested in what the center will offer in terms of mini-educational opportunities.”
Beyond the traditional classrooms of Tator Hall, this center will be able to engage human experiences. The Center of Religion is Quinnipiac’s innovative response to a student body that requires a certain set of tools to enter into the world-sized classroom.
“Take, for example, The Basilica of San Clemente in Italy. It was quite a famous and historical discovery,” Lenaghan said. “A student can read about the excavation process and the profound impact it had in any textbook.”
The discussion can be advanced beyond any other textbook. The goal of the center is to explore these narratives more critically.
“Or, a student can learn about it through a presentation conducted by the head of the excavation team from that site,” Lenaghan said. “You need to have a place for the type of presentation. This, right here, is the place for that type of conversation.”