The Spiritual Life Project had its first meeting in February 2006 following the Jon C. Dalton Institute on College Student Values. As a result several senior members of the Division of Student Affairs (DSA) staff, led by Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr.Mary Coburn, participated in the National Institute on Spirituality in Higher Education in 2006.
The Division of Student Affairs staff led a “Student Spirituality Brown Bag Series” in August 2007, at The Claude Pepper Center for Intercultural Dialogue, which was led by Monsignor William Kerr. Eboo Patel of the Interfaith Youth Core was also brought to campus in 2008.
Starting earnestly in 2009 a steering committee gathered to define a mission, a vision and a working definition. The resulting “The Spiritual Life Project: Encouraging FSU Students’ Search for Meaning, Purpose and Authenticity” was developed through one-to-one conversations among student affairs staff, Religion faculty, campus ministers, student advisors, and students. Provost Larry Abele and Dr. Mary Coburn appointed “The Spiritual Life Project,” asking 16 representatives of the above groups to serve. Our inaugural meeting included Dr. Jon Dalton providing an executive summary of “The Spiritual Life of College Students: A National Study of College Students’ Search for Meaning and Purpose” and “Responding to Spirituality on Campus: Some Recommendations for Educators.”
Subsequent meetings led to four areas of growth:
- Spiritual Spaces on campus
- Programming to further the conversation
- Technology and social media to support and grow the community
- The Spiritual Life Project recognized student organization
Our now monthly meetings include work on these areas and 30 minutes dedicated to “expanding our spiritual horizons” during which an individual will share their personal story of spirituality, explain their tradition as they understand and practice it, and engage in conversation with all of us. The Spiritual Life Project is made up of DSA staff as well as students.
Accomplishments to Note:
- The SLP took an inventory of reflective spaces on campus, courses, student organization, centers, etc.
- A student focus group, comprised of students of many different traditions, gave input and ideas for the areas listed above.
- A higher education masters’ student selected the SLP as a professional internship.
- A meditation room became available to any member of the Florida State community as a quiet, simple place to reflect, meditate or pray. *All are welcome to enjoy this neutral place at any time the Center for Global and Multicultural Engagement is open.
- An interfaith panel during International Education Week brought together four campus leaders (three were students) with various backgrounds and perspectives. Panelists shared personal stories about how spirituality had influenced important life decisions and affected their everyday journey. *How to discuss faith respectfully was effectively modeled.
- We launched a Facebook campaign and logo: Spiritual Life at FSU found at http://www.facebook.com/FSUSLP.
- Campus Ministries chooses to rename their organization the Interfaith Council.
- The SLP launched the meditation practices lunch series.
- The SLP coordinated an interfaith panel during University Housing’s “Appreciation of Differences” week.
- The SLP responded to President Obama’s InterfaithService Challenge.
- The SLP was invited to participate in the Interfaith YouthCore Leadership Training.
- The SLP showed the film, “Power of Forgiveness,” and coordinated the September 11th Silent Vigil
- The Transformation Through Teaching faculty recognition dinner occurred at President Barron’s home. Please see more information below.
- “Ask Big Questions” monthly discussion launched in partnership with Hillel.
- Interfaith Reflection Labs launched. *Students intentionally reflect on their service through the lens of finding life’s greater purpose, guided by a personal religious or non-religious commitment.
- The SLP student organization coordinated the “What Are We Celebrating Anyway?” interfaith discussion.
- SLP co-sponsored “Authentic Dialogue Across Differences” following the talk by Jonathan Haidt, “The Righteous Mind: How morality binds us together and tears us apart” on September 11th. The SLP hosted an activity where interested audience members practiced dialogue across difference in a structured format.