Brandeis Interfaith Group: What If Speak-In and Beyond!

For those of you who don’t know, Brandeis Interfaith Group is a newly formed club on campus, centered around interfaith dialogue and service. We meet in the Peace Room every Thursday at 9- check it out. I personally look forward to BIG every week, because we have collaboratively fostered some of the most meaningful dialogue I have taken part in thus far in my three semesters at Brandeis.

On Monday November 15th in the Rappaporte Treasure Hall, Brandeis Interfaith Group along with several other co-sponsors on campus had our first “big” event. The What-If Speak-In was a night of kosher dessert, meaningful stories, Q and A with President Elect Fred Lawrence, and interfaith dialogue with members of the Brandeis community. The goal of the event was to foster meaningful dialogue and expose ourselves to different ideas from faiths and belief systems, centered around fighting homelessness in Waltham, the greater Boston area, and the world.

Members of BIG (including yours truly) read stories and poems about our own faith journeys and how we apply our faith traditions and belief systems to serving others. President Elect Fred Lawrence honored us by offering his unique perspective about religious pluralism and its role at Brandeis. Students had the opportunity to ask the President Elect about his faith own faith journey, and how it applies to serving others. Following President Elect Lawrence, students, faculty, staff, and others from the community discussed in small groups their own personal experiences in faith and service.

The What-If Speak-In was the first of a series of events and projects as part of the larger Better Together Campaign. Over the rest of the academic year, BIG and the community will be working on projects to elevate local homelessness. We will (eventually) be looking for co-sponsors. If you think your club or organization is interested, or if you as an individual are interested in getting involved, join our listserve, facebook group, come to our Thursday meetings, or e-mail me, Rachel Downs at

Get ready for our next BIG (big) event coming in December! Monday December 6th from 8-9:30 around Massell pond and in the Shapiro Dorm Lounge, there will be hot cocoa, cookies, and conversation and lights and holidays, both physically and metaphorically. Hope to see you there!

love- Rachel and BIG