The transition into higher education creates a new opportunity to harness your true identity. For some, religion is a part of this experience. Whether you are a person of faith who has been part of a religion since childhood or if you are seeking spiritual answers, NSU has plenty of religious organizations to help guide you on your quest.
International Muslim Association at NSU (IMAN)
Soul Nourishment event
The Interfaith room, September 4, at 8:30 p.m.
IMAN meets bi-monthly. On Wednesdays, they offer Soul Nourishment events where a local Imam comes to the Interfaith Room. While on the Islamic holy day (Friday) at 2 o’clock, they have a group prayer led by the Imam.
“[Our Imam] gives talks relevant to college students [during Soul Nourishment]. But not everything is explicitly religious, we also have chill activities, like sister youth nights and Hoops n Halaqas,” said senior Taalia Azharuddin, president of IMAN.
Azharuddin explained the impact of IMAN on her life: “I moved from Michigan, and I moved into the dorms my freshman year. Thankfully, I found IMAN, and that definitely helped me. I feel like when you don’t have a car, like I didn’t, it’s hard to go to the mosque, and have that connection with God.”
Ablaze Campus Ministry
Ablaze Weekly Bible Study
The Interfaith room, September 6, at 5:30 p.m.
Ablaze Campus Ministry is a non-denominational Christian organization that meets weekly on Fridays for Bible studies, and are recently instituting “Ablaze After Party.”
Senior Marlee Mallot, president of Ablaze Campus Ministry, said, “After our Friday meetings of bible study and a meal, we’ll move onto a common room, and have board games, video games and music,” in reference to Ablaze After Party.
She continued, “We have tried to build not only a community of discipleship, but reach out to people who want to get serious about becoming disciples of Christ, with serious Bible study. We want to make sure our members are grounded in the biblical doctrine of our faith. It’s impossible to be held accountable to study and live the ‘perfect Christian life’ on your own, so it’s really important to be surrounded by people who believe what you believe, and act how you act.”
Other non-denominational Christian organizations include Greenhouse Campus Ministry (@greenhousecollegeministry_sfl) and Shine Women’s Bible Study (@shine_nsu).
Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach
Hillel is one of NSU’s Jewish organizations. They also have the added bonus of having an on-campus meeting space located across from the Interfaith Room on the third floor in the Student Affairs Building. They host Shabbat on Fridays, as well as Lunch and Learns with Rabbi Rose.
Lauren Oback, director of Jewish Student Life for Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach said, “The students that are coming here [have] different life experiences, their own idea of Judaism. Some have grown up in a religious household, and some had limited exposure. What Hillel tries to do is expose them to as many as religious experiences as possible. We have various Shabbat experiences, and it’s not like your grandma and grandpa’s Shabbat.”
Oback continues to innovate Hillel’s programs. “This year, our eboard has said ‘this is like Hillel on steroids.’ We are introducing Late Night Lounges, like live game show night, when the story of Noah’s ark comes in October. We’ll be bringing in a live animal show then,” said Oback.
Unlike previous years, Hillel is trying to create a more inclusive club for both undergraduate and graduate students.
Chabad at NSU (@jewishnsu) is another Jewish organization on campus.
NSU Young Jains of America (YJA)
Sophomore Miloni Shah, president of YJA and the local representative for YJA in South Florida, is from Chicago where she says there is a larger population of Jains.
“Most people are not aware of this religion. [In Florida], it has always been a struggle for me to find an outlet. So, coming from Chicago where almost every single person you know comes to temple with you, I think an outlet here really helps students to stay driven towards their religion and helps them find a little security away from home,” said Shah.
According to the YJA website, Jainism is a non-theistic religion that believes in reincarnation, along with a lifestyle that is tailored to earn enlightenment and benefit the world.
Shah’s goal is to help Jains find food that is within their religious guidelines, as Jains typically have a strict vegetarian diet along with excluding root vegetables, like potatoes and onions too. “My biggest thing is giving them a dietary expansion. That’s something that I really struggled with last year. The biggest thing I like to do at meetings is telling members what you can eat in the NSU cafeteria.”
Paryushan, the most religious week in Jainism is approximately Aug. 26 to Sept. 2. Shah says the club anticipates scheduling transportation for students to go to the Jain Center of South Florida together. “It’s a huge celebration of the birth of one of our religious leaders,” said Shah.
Shah wants to expand meetings to create an open space for Jain and Indian students of other religions. “I plan on making the club more fun with things like Jain jeopardy, Jain academic board and even attending a vegan festival. I just want us to get out there and explore religion,” said Shah.
The universal thread through each interview was the recurring affirmation that NSU has a diverse and respectful environment.
“[At NSU] I was afraid that I would be met with apathy towards faith. I heard previously that it was a spiritually dead campus, but I found it richly involved in faith and well-equipped to handle religious students’ needs, not just Christian organizations, but Jewish and Muslim organizations,” said Mallot, Ablaze’s president.
Azharuddin of IMAN called it “a very woke campus.” She continued, “I wear a hijab. When you go around and wear something on your head that screams out “I am Muslim,” it is like a Muslim flag. It’s a matter of pride and modesty. I think that NSU is unique in the sense that you will see and meet people from all types of religions and cultures. I don’t feel very threatened, and I have people who look like me. Those who don’t look like me, support me.”
Time spent at university provides an opportunity to meet new people and make friendships with students of all races and religions.
Senior Adi Eylon, president of Hillel said, “I bring my non-Jewish friends to Hillel events, and [Hillel] is a place where you can make connections, be open minded and learn about how other people perceive the religion and culture.”
Azharuddin encourages readers of all faiths to “reach out to your campus organizations.”