The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Utica University holds “Give Faith a Chance” panel discussion

Group photo of the student panelists. /Photo courtesy of Mary Siniscarco

On March 27, Utica University held a panel event titled “Give Faith a Chance.” This event was a chance for students to connect with fellow student panelists and talk about what their faith means to them. The event was created by a new initiative called Utica Unified.

“Utica Unified, is a new initiative to increase a sense of belonging and connectedness with Utica University students,” said Mary Siniscarco, an associate professor of health sciences at Utica. “Experiencing a sense of belongingness and connectedness with one another can positively maximize one’s mental health, as well as increase one’s resilience in cultivating relationships with each other.”

Siniscarco said the mission of this new initiative is to provide students with a plethora of experiential holistic experiences. These experiences include anything from yoga and nature hikes to interfaith practices and meditation.

“Adjunct Professor Dave Roberts and Adjunct Professor Patrick Collver surveyed students at the first introductory Utica Unified meeting and found that more than half the students expressed a desire to explore their spiritual awareness,” Siniscarco said.

The panel consisted of six students ranging from freshman to graduate student status with different faiths. Faiths represented include Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu. Each panelist took turns to answer a series of questions such as what they would define their faith as, what they believe in, if their faith provided them hope, and whether their faiths have an impact on their purpose in life.

“I thank God that I was able to be a part of this event. God provided me with the opportunity to be His ambassador and to share His Word with some of my fellow students,” physical therapy student Christian Stevens said. “Additionally, I enjoyed getting to know some of my fellow students who share my faith or believe in a different faith.”

Over 50 students attended this event, with everyone saying a prayer once it had concluded. One of the panelists said the parting prayer was the best part of the event.

“It was very powerful to be with people who you think are so different from you all coming together for the same reason. Just thankful for being able to be together,” said Sara Garrow, an occupational therapy major.

The panelists also took a moment to talk about some of the biggest takeaways they had from this event.

“I want people to know, no matter the religion you practice or your own beliefs I pray you find the courage to keep going,” said Leena Kanan, a freshman and biology major. “The deepest tunnels always lead to light at the end.”

Siniscarco said with the event being so well received by students and faculty, there will be plans for more such events in the future.

She added: “The plan is to have more ongoing opportunities to share each other’s faith in the Fall 2024 semester as well as participate in the other identified experiential opportunities as per the Utica Unified student survey.”

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Charles Buckley
Charles Buckley, Features Editor
Class Year: Junior Major: Communication and Media Minors: Creative Writing and Theatre Previous Position: Staff Writer (2020-2021), Clerk (2021-2022), Features Editor (Fall 2023)

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