Student Religious Leaders Look to the Fall

Image depicts four webinar speakers: Sohini Bhatia, JJ Kapur, Bianca Kermani, and Ella Ramos

As the start of university classes approaches, our webinar, Student Leaders Prepare for the Fall 2020, featured four student leaders from different campuses and worldviews talking about their expectations for campus life radically transformed by Covid-19, calls for racial justice, and other momentous issues. Sohini Bhatia (from Mt. Holyoke College), JJ Kapur (from Stanford University), Bianca Kermani (from UC-San Diego), and Ella Ramos (from the University of Illinois-Chicago) talked about their hope and anxieties for the coming semester, how interfaith work will be more needed than ever, and what staff and faculty can do to support students on their campus.

“The way I think about priorities is very different,” Bianca mentioned as she talked about how the importance of her family and religious community rose in prominence for her during the pandemic. This shift in priorities was echoed by each student. “It’s easy to get lost when we are all virtual,” Sohini noted when talking about the importance of personalized outreach to students from faculty. JJ echoed this point when talking about how one of the things he most misses from “in-person life” is the traditional langar meals that his Sikh temple organizes for all in their community. Ella had a similar longing for being able to pray next to others during Catholic Mass. Asked at the end of the webinar for a final reflection, Ella shared that, along with thinking about what’s been lost during this time, she always thinks about what we all are doing to make our society “bearable and better.”

Watch the full recording.

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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.