Interfaith Council and MLC hold collaborative event about intersection of faith and culture

On Jan. 16, the two student organizations hosted a panel and small group discussion about the experiences of different religious and cultural identities on campus.


Emily Gonçalves

The University Chaplain’s office is a resource on campus that supports the spiritual and religious growth of students.

Caitlin David, Staff Writer

The Vanderbilt Interfaith Council and the Multicultural Leadership Council (MLC) hosted a discussion about the intersection of faith and culture on Jan. 16. The two groups held the event, titled “Culture and Creed,” at the Vanderbilt University Chaplain’s office.

Led by Interfaith president Rachel Miles, the event began with the stories of the four panelists, Shun Ahmed, David Blum, Mariam Farag and Charita Veerapaneni. Culture and Creed gave participants the opportunity to listen to panelists share the personal stories of their religious and cultural identities during their time at Vanderbilt.

The panelists discussed how coming to Vanderbilt impacted the ways they practiced and expressed their faiths or conflicted with their religious or cultural identities. At the end of the panel, the students shared examples where status quo or personal beliefs have challenged their religious and cultural identities. 

After the panel, students broke into small groups to discuss the stories of the panelists and share examples of how their life experiences and time at Vanderbilt have shaped their own identities.

According to Miles, the collaboration chose the panelists as leaders of different faith organizations on campus. However, she emphasized that the panelists should not be represented as tokens of their faiths.

“I think it’s really important for students to use their time at college to have these types of dialogues,” Miles said.