Fasting Night promotes awareness of social issues on campus

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Members of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship are fasting every fourth Thursday of the month to raise awareness about social issues around the world. Photo by Emily Waller / Emily.Waller@Marquette.eduIntervarsity Christian Fellowship, a group of students and staff who meet weekly to worship and discuss the Bible, is creating its first ever Fasting Night. The group urges members and students to come together and fast to raise awareness for social issues every fourth Thursday of the month.

Last Thursday, in the Alumni Memorial Union, Intervarsity introduced its program and gave students background information on fasting as well as tips for healthy fasting.

Ryan Lospaluto, a campus staff member for Intervarsity, said fasting is a way to bring the spirit and body together.

“Any student can participate in fasting,” Lospaluto said. “Whether Christian, Muslim or atheist, anyone can react to something like poverty.”

Nathan Bounyong, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences and worship coordinator of Intervarsity, created the idea for the fasting night and said the basic idea is connecting our spiritual selves with our physical selves and raising awareness of injustice.

“I wanted a way for our chapter to do some type of spiritual discipline together,” said Bounyong.

Lospaluto said fasting is more than just choosing not to do something.

“Fasting is not not using Facebook for two weeks or not eating dessert for a month; those things are abstaining,” Lospaluto said. “Fasting is intentionally not eating for a certain period of time. It is our natural, inevitable response to a grievous sacred moment.”

Intervarsity shared a grievous sacred moment Thursday night while watching a YouTube clip of Nehru Nagar slums in Mumbai, India.

Lospaluto said a grievous sacred moment is something that can break someone’s spirit.

“We don’t fast to get something, we fast because we are faced with a moment that is so serious that it would be disrespectful to that moment to indulge in food,” Lospaluto said.

Amanda Adamiec, junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, has been a member of Intervarsity for three years and said she has had an amazing experience.

Adamiec thinks it’s great to get together with people who share common beliefs and encourage each other. She plans to fast every fourth Thursday and hopes to use the time to grow closer to and pray to God.

“It helps raise awareness to issues going on that people don’t know about, or know about but just don’t realize the situation,” Adamiec said. “It gives me a chance to take time out of the day to realize how blessed I am and think of ways to share the love of God that I receive with others.”

Kevin Gray, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, said he plans to fast and said he is excited to fast within a community and have the support of other Intervarsity members.

“It is great that we are able to raise awareness toward things like homelessness,” Gray said.

Lospaluto said fasting is not a way to be a better Christian, nor does it make you more holy. He discouraged students from fasting if they have diabetes or other medical conditions.

He suggests students fast only from food, but still drink plenty of water.

The next Fasting Night will be held Oct. 28 to raise awareness of homelessness and poverty. Breakfast and worship will follow.

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