New club reintroduces Inter-Faith Alliance to Wheaton

The Wheaton ‘Better Together Day’ took place on Saturday, 11th April. This day was hosted by the colleges’ Better Together club and consisted of various activities with different clubs that both students and professors could attend.

Better Together is not a new club, as it was created two years ago under the title Inter-Faith Alliance. This club went on hiatus until Associate Dean Vereene Parnell of Service, Spirituality and Social Responsibility (a.k.a. The Chapel basement) sent a group of students to the Inter Faith Conference in Atlanta for leadership training. This group of students took a pledge at the conference to bring the idea of ‘Better Together’ back to their college.

As club President Emily Monfet ’17 explained, “Better Together was formally known as the Inter Faith Alliance. On campus, it was focused on community service and bringing together people of different faith backgrounds. It had more emphasis on faith, rather than non-faith and it died out…Dean [Vereene] wanted to make it a more permanent society in campus so she sent us all to Inter Faith Leadership (IFYC) training in Atlanta, Georgia where we learned the importance of Interfaith Service and Dialogue.”

This culminated in the event called ‘Better Together Day’ which was originally invented by the IFYC, a non-profit organization founded by Eboo Patel in 2002. The Better Together Campaign is IFYC’s model for an interfaith action campaign on college campuses. It is designed to function in a variety of campus environments while allowing students to adapt it to their own community.

When asked what Better Together meant to her, club Treasurer Zara Simon ’17 said, “[It]is all faiths working together to understand people and respect religions, it doesn’t matter what religion you follow…it’s nice because it makes you a more open-minded person. It used to be called the Inter Faith club but we changed the name to Better Together because we want to make sure that non-faiths know that they’re included. Everyone is welcome.”

Monfet expressed her wishes and hopes for the club’s future, saying, “I want people on the campus to understand how important it is for all of us to work together in the community and build relationships, as well as learn and understand other people’s faiths. That will make violence less prominent in the world. That’s one of the biggest things, to educate people and bring them together. I hope it will have a larger presence on this campus.”

The club secretary, Muneeba Syed ’17 said, “The idea of ‘Better Together Day’ is to come across philosophical view points, religious and non-religious beliefs to better join in the spirit of peaceful cooperation. That is what the club was aiming for!”