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‘Better Together Day’ aims to unify religions through discussion

A Jenga block with the quesiton "How many gods do you believe in"
On the so-called “Giant Religion Jenga” blocks were written questions meant to prompt players into opening an honest conversation by asking things like “How many gods do you believe in?” as shown by this block. (Josh Schroeder | Collegian)

With approximately 4,300 religions worldwide, everything from specific practices to scripture can vary.

Elizabeth Sink, Colorado State University professor of the Key Multifaith and Belief Engagement course, and her students hosted Better Together Day on the plaza on April 10 to break down these differences.

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The event was a collaboration with Sink’s class and the CSU Multi Faith and Belief Student Council, the Hillel Jewish student organization, Lutheran Campus Ministries and the Geller Center for spirituality. 

Sink said bringing together people of different backgrounds is one of her passions, especially when it seems impossible.

“I think it’s one of the most important things we can do as a nation right now,” Sink said.

Freshman Donavon Reed, one of Sink’s students, said this is a national event that aims to bring together people of differing religious and spiritual beliefs to discuss how they manifest themselves.

“We’re out here to look at everybody’s religion and beliefs to see that we are equal and come together as one,” Reed said. “We’re out here to support that and bring that to campus to show that we are a very diverse campus here at CSU.”

Sink said her class combines world religions and engagement by conversing across lines of differences through events and service projects. This is the second big event of the year that is hosted by the class, the first of which was Interfaith Friends-giving during the fall semester.

Students participating in the event were welcomed to play giant Jenga with questions pertaining to religious beliefs printed across the sides.

One of the questions asked was what participants would ask if someone from a different spiritual background, if given the opportunity to do so.

Karey Olson, sophomore Human Dimensions of Natural resources major, said she would like to learn more about how and when different people were introduced to religion.

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Avery Ranum, sophomore political science major at CSU, said he would like to learn more about why and how people practice their religion(s).  

In addition to this game, attendees were invited to take photos labeled with different beliefs.

One of Sink’s students, Dalton Vandivere, said he was very happy with the way the event went.

“I really like this event partially because my beliefs are mostly around looking at a lot of other beliefs and building my own,” Vandivere said. “I believe that’s something that most people should try to do and it also gives us a way to connect with each other. There have been a lot of great conversations we’ve had (today).”

Daniel Lopez, one of the participants, said he was happy with the event and the way that CSU handles unity.

Lopez stressed his belief that in a mixture of many beliefs and religions, it is important that they unite.

“Everyone should just come together and acknowledge that we’re the same,” Lopez said.

Everyone should just come together and acknowledge that we’re the same.”  Daniel Lopez, CSU political science freshman

This event occurs annually and is open and intended for the public to interact in interfaith communication through different activities, Sink said. 

“I’m motivated to… get the (Jewish people), and the Atheists, and the Christians, and the Muslims all in the same room and show how we can better each others lives,” Sink said. “Not just prove each other wrong, but better each others lives.”

Collegian reporter Audrey Weiss can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @audkward

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