Club Profile: Religion Club
Photo by Jenna Wecht, '17
Religion clubs are not new to Skidmore’s list of student clubs. However, religious clubs that approach religion from an academic perspective are new to Skidmore. With the help of Religious Studies professor Eliza Kent, Henry Brefka ’17 and Damaris Chenoweth ‘17 created the Religion Club with the intention of fostering religious literacy and acceptance, while creating a forum for religious discussion at Skidmore. The club meets every Wednesday night at 8:00 pm in the Religious Studies and Philosophy office.
Both founders feel that adding a club that approaches religion from an academic perspective adds something novel to the various religious clubs already available at Skidmore. They emphasize to the student body that the club is all-inclusive, and members don’t need to be religious or majoring in religion to join, stressing that conversations in the club “do not need to be entrenched in a single religion to be fruitful.” As they emphasize in the club’s goals, “understanding other religions is a key part of the club and we believe it is one of the most important roles we hope to fill for the Skidmore population.”
Religious Studies is often thought of as a field of study that aims to understand a specific religious tradition. However, religion is described as a force that can shape society and is “pivotal to the human experience.” In the context of the club, both Brefka and Chenoweth aim to use the Religious Studies program’s interdisciplinary approach as a way to understand larger ethical concerns and questions in a non-academic setting. As the founders collectively responded, “understanding [religion] and being able to discuss and engage with it is necessary for us as students and inheritors of a shrinking world. We hope to foster this pursuit and provide a forum for other students to do the same.”
As the Religion Club aims to foster an understanding of religion in today’s society, the founders hope that they can shape the club in a way that allows members to determine activities. Potentially, members can go on field trips to local religious services and sites, attend lectures, watch movies, and have dinners in a casual setting in order to engage with one another.
When asked about their hopes for the club, both Brefka and Chenoweth said, “come and tell us what you think about religion, come share your opinions and perspective with us. We want to have fruitful conversations about the problems facing us as human beings in today's world. We want to better understand the vast beauty of the human experience and we hope to pursue that regularly within Religion Club.”