Guidelines for Religious Clubs at F&M
Welcome and Gratitude
I wish to thank students for exploring faith and meaning as part of their Liberal Arts
experience. This journey invites you into the world of critical thinking, meaning making,
and reflection. It is our hope that you will apply these lessons as you explore your faith
life and continue to develop your worldview.
We are also grateful to volunteers who serve as guests and community partners in
religious life at F&M. All of our religious clubs exist because they fill a need that our
students have expressed. As staff from religious organizations serve our students, we
also welcome them as our guests to mentor students in their process of becoming
leaders on campus.
We encourage all groups to become official organizations of the College and expect you
will go through this process. The times when this is an exception is when a faith group is
not able to gather enough students to organize in this way.
There are times when it is important to have a small representation of a faith tradition
without going through this process. If this should be the case, we invite those groups to
maintain a close relationship with the Director for Faith and Meaning, who can serve as
a guide with the faculty/staff advisors.
There are some traditions where religious and cultural traditions come together and the
students may decide to affiliate as a religious group or a cultural group. When this
happens the Director for Faith and Meaning and the Office of Multicultural Affairs will
work together to help students observe their tradition in a full way.
Every student club should have a faculty/staff advisor even when also working with and
outside guest/community partner.This will also help groups maintain boundary issues on
trips, retreats and group facilitation where a mentor is helpful and appropriate. By having
two people, the chance of securing the presence of at least one person at important
events is possible.
Outside Guests/Community Partner Status
There are some groups who are resourced by outside organizations. Staff members
from these organizations are not F&M staff and serve as guests at the discretion of the
Office of Faith and Meaning.
All outside guests/volunteers are required to go through the F&M Human Resources
Department. A background check is required to be on file for all of the guests who are
serving students, and they must attend a brief orientation in the Human Resources
Department prior to starting as well. To begin this process, they must contact the
Director for Faith and Meaning. Once this process is complete they are considered Community Partners.
Religious Preference Lists
Every fall students are invited to fill out a religious preference form provided by the
registrar. This information is confidential and protected by the College. When those
results are complete, a list is given to the Director of Faith and Meaning.
Multi-faith Resource Room (MRR)
The Multi-faith Resource Room is located on the ground level of the Steinman College
Center (SCC). This room is available for all religious clubs to use for gatherings,
meetings or special events. We ask that you contact the Director of Faith and Meaning
to reserve this space for regular meetings.
The key for the room is located at the Information Desk in the Atrium of the SCC. A
current student needs to give their student identification to a person working at the desk
and they will receive the key. When they are finished using the room the key must be
returned to the desk and the student will get the ID back.
There is a bulletin board outside of this room. It is encouraged to use if a group would
like to post information about current events or programs.
Vans are available for students to use for off campus events. We ask that you connect
with the Auxiliary Services in the Steinman College Center and follow their process for
driver certification. 717.358.4426 firstname.lastname@example.org
Opportunities for Sharing Traditions
We are very glad that we have such a rich diversity of religious traditions on our campus
and believe that this diversity of identities, beliefs, and traditions will continue to grow.
We also want each group to share the richness of their faith with others, and encourage
opportunities for students to engage meaningfully and cooperatively across different
religious and nonreligious identities. At the same time we ask that you respect our
understanding that efforts to convert people to your tradition is not encouraged at F&M.
Information and events should be available for all who wish to participate. We do not
want students to be approached in a way that is confrontational or harassing. Religious
clubs and individuals should not seek to impose one tradition on to others. It is
appropriate for students to respectfully engage, share their traditions, beliefs and values,
seek to listen to understand, and share resources when asked.
We also encourage community partners and advisors to be available to people who
have questions and who may be searching for a faith tradition. We hope and celebrate
opportunities where they can serve as a resource for those seeking out meaning and
purpose in their lives.
We are here to provide each person religious and spiritual opportunities that will bring
meaning to their lives. We also seek to cultivate an atmosphere of respect among those
from different religious and nonreligous identities, and therefore wish to protect students
from harassment that may violate that mutual respect and understanding.
Interfaith Student Council (ISC)
Because of our commitment to appreciating diverse religious and nonreligious identities
at F&M, we invite each religious club or group to select a representative to serve on the
The ISC meets weekly during the academic year to organize programs that facilitate
meaningful learning between the diverse faith traditions on campus. This group will seek
to facilitate religious literacy, develop respect across difference, create space to explore
difference, and build opportunities for students to act cooperatively together toward
common goals. They will also serve as a resource for advocacy and educational
opportunities on campus.
Even if the representative is unable to attend meetings due to other commitments, we
hope that this representative will be a liaison between the Office of Faith and Meaning
and the organization they represent.
It is important that the person from each group value what it means to be in an interfaith
community. If possible, we ask that the representative not be a person who is already
serving in a leadership role in their organization. This creates new opportunities for
leadership, and we find that people are better able to give the time necessary when they
are do not also hold a leadership role with the group they are representing.
Cultivating interfaith cooperation through the ISC and the Office of Faith and Meaning is
not only a way for our various religious clubs to find intersections for shared purpose, but
it also facilitates opportunities for learning and growth. A deep and growing body of
research shows us that when students engage in interfaith opportunities on campus,
they not only develop respect for and the ability to work with those who are different from
them, but also deepen their understanding of and commitment to their own religious or
nonreligious identity. Therefore, interfaith cooperation not only gives students the skills
to work cooperatively with others who are different than them, but it also supports and
deepens the connection they have with their own tradition as well.
It is important for each group to remain in communication with the Director for Faith and
Meaning. We ask that you include the Director in any regular emails that are sent out by
your organization. It is also important to keep the Director informed of regular meetings
so that they can pass on that information to people who seek out a religious
The resource room on the second floor of the SCC is available to all groups to prepare
banners that can be hung from the Atrium balcony and in the Blue Line (if space is
available). There is also a copy machine in the resource room for flyers. The student
activities staff will be glad to help with distribution of flyers around campus.
Posters can be made through the Office of Communications located on the third floor of
Old Main. There is a fee for these.
It is also important for events and meetings to be posted on the college calendar. Your event
can be closed to the F&M community only, students only or open to the wider public.
It is appropriate to seek out opportunities for co-sponsorship of initiatives and events.
This may include religious clubs seeking partnership with the Office of Faith and
Meaning, other offices on campus, or academic departments. Furthermore, other
academic departments or offices may be seeking opportunities to partner with religious
clubs. Please contact the Director for Faith and Meaning to discuss partnership
opportunities or with questions about co-sponsorship opportunities.
Please go to the appropriate place on the college website to access the room
reservationists. All reservations go through this process. You may be directed to other
people on campus for some requests. There are some spaces are managed by people
directly involved in the care of specific buildings.
Contact Information and Further Questions
If you have any questions about the policies listed here, about a religious club, or about
faith and meaning at F&M, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Faith and
Meaning. Contact information is listed here:
Dr. Joe Pritchett
Office: Second Floor, Steinman College Center