Faith Abounds at Butler University

May 7, 2008

Author: Meg Biallas

Source: Dawgnet

Within the last year, Butler University has seen the addition of a full-time priest, a Muslim student group and the increased involvement of the Jewish community and several smaller Christian groups. What will the university come up with next?

Butler is not religiously affiliated, but in recent years the campus has become diversified in a way that allows Catholics, Jews, Muslims and many forms of Christianity to find a niche in the faith community.

The most recent addition was the Muslim Student Association (MSA), which the Student Government Association (SGA) approved this past January. MSA was created partly out of the need for Muslim students to connect and discuss certain issues pertaining to their faith and education.

Maham Mustaq, a freshman pre-physician assistant major, said the idea came when she met with Cara Cima of the Learning Resource Center.

“We used to talk about Ramadan and how it was difficult to not eat and have studies,” Mustaq said. “She told me other students had come in with the same complaint."

“[Cima] said, ‘Maybe it would be a good idea for you to get in contact with the other students,’” Mustaq said.

Judith Cebula, the director for Butler’s Center for Faith and Vocation (CFV), said that having the MSA on campus would help improve religious pluralism. The CFV, which houses and provides resources for religious campus organizations, is located across the street from Clowes Memorial Hall.

Cebula began as director of the CFV, affectionately called the Blue House by its patrons, when the center opened in 2003.

"We tried to re-establish a structure at Butler for dealing with religion and religious diversity," Cebula said. "There was a bit of a framework already, but it needed to be built upon. We needed to strengthen the religion part.

"So that’s why having an MSA has been so great. But the goal has been to find out how can we support and strengthen those organizations so that they can become more confident in working with their students."