Finding Faith

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Students find ways to explore faith on campus

Connecting campus through faith. Marquette offers a variety of opportunities to explore and learn more about themselves and religion.

Stephen Blaha, assistant director of campus ministry, is the director of Ignite. Ignite is a weekly, student-led community gathering that builds a community where faith and life can be explored, Blaha said.

Blaha said that Ignite is looking at how to foster a faith that foceses on justice. ‘Finding Faith in a Secular Age,’ an event organized by Ignite, offered an opportunity for a dialogue to explore the relationship of faith in the secular world.

“Dr. Brian Bajzek, an assistant professor of theology, explored the dynamics of not just religious pluralism in a world that is religiously plural, but in a world where there’s spaces or time where faith is welcome, or maybe not. He also explored how you know the secular world, so maybe not explicitly faith setting,” Blaha said.

Blaha said the student team that leads Ignites decides that it was important to have dialogues about faith and engage is questions of need and questions of justice around the world.

“It’s important that it’s a dialogue to bring our faith to bring our intelligence, to bring our emotional intelligence, to bring our whole selves and to welcome that moment. Personally, with people engaging in dialogue, talking with one another, and really, respectfully listening, just really being full of listening is a really important muscle to strengthen and to flex, and we can do that here,” Blaha said.

Alongside Ignite, CRU  is another faith community on campus. Paul Runnoe, who works with CRU, organizes events such as bible study and helps students explore their spirituality.

“CRU is a caring community, passionate about connecting people to Jesus Christ,” Runnoe said.

Runnoe said that students should get connected with one of the campus ministries on campus to explore the faith.

“Getting connected with CRU and exploring different opportunities to hear more about Christianity and what it means to live out your faith and find faith in college,” Runnoe said.

Runnoe said it is important for people to examine what they believe because many people have a religious background.

“Finding faith is understanding what it is you believe and why you believe it. It is wise and healthy for all for us, at some point in our lives, to think through what do I believe and why do I believe that and how does that impact my day-to-day life,” Runnoe said.

Another organization available for students to explore and learn more about faith is the Muslim Student Association.

Dana Sharqawi, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, is the president of the Muslim Student Association.

“Faith is everything to me, before anything I am Muslim. The reason why I took on this role is to leave the resources and tools for the following generations after to strengthen MSA and allow it to grow to be an even stronger organization than it already is,” Sharqawi said in an email.

Muslim students make up about one percent of the student body. Sharqawi said that MSA provides Muslim students on campus a sense of community and belonging.

“Attending a predominantly white school, it is hard to feel that sense of belonging for many Muslims here. You feel as if you don’t fit in or don’t belong, which to some extent is true, you don’t fit in. I think that I’ve grown to realize is that it is okay to not fit in,” Sharqawi said in an email.

Sharqawi said that she was able to find a group of people that look like her through MSA.

“MSA has grown to be a huge part of me, and my identity and I hope that if anyone reading this also feels as if they don’t fit in stops by at an event and finds that sense of community,” Sharqawi said in an email,

This story was written by Hannah Hernandez. She can be reached at hannah.hernandez@marquette.edu.