My name is Grace and I am a non-denominational Christian. In my opinion faith representation within a university setting is especially important as university can be a difficult time for students of faith as they move away from their home faith communities and look to find new ones. I have been disappointed with some of the interactions that the university has had with its religious students this year, particularly in regard to the broken promises of the prayer rooms availability on campus. I think that the university can and should do a much better job at helping to provide resources to help support Newcastle University students of faith in their time at this institution.
In my role as Faith and Belief Officer I would aim to:
- Make sure that in the future the university is transparent about what it can offer students of faith
- Represent the views and experiences of students of faith to the Students Union Council
- Seek to improve attitudes towards criticism from students regarding the issues face by student of faith during their time here at the university
- Work with faith societies to coordinate campaigns and activities which seek to promote the awareness of the issues faced by students of faith at university
- Seek to diversify the activities available for students of faith
- Help to further signpost resources available from the university chaplaincy service
- Investigate ways to implement for diversity on the chaplaincy team and push for these changes
- Aim to hold monthly office hours so that students of faith can confide in me in person alongside my online availability
Intersectionality around the experiences of students of faith is also very important to me; the experiences of people of faith are also influenced by other aspects of their identities and it is highly important to diversify the images of people of faith. I was very excited to help establish the role of faith rep within the LGBT society, as people of faith exist in many spaces and should have adequate representation throughout the university.