Interfaith Week starts with new ‘Hug a ____ Day’

Interfaith week began Monday with “Hug a ___ Day” and will continue through Thursday with a series of events put together by the Marshall University Secular Student Alliance, Marshall Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and the Muslim Student Association. The weeklong event is a chance for the student organizations to promote tolerance, understanding and togetherness.

During Monday’s event, “Hug a ___ Day,” at the Memorial Student Center, students had the opportunity to hug someone from one of the groups represented. There are eight organizations participating in the events: Buddhism, Unitarian Universalist, Judaism, Secularism, Christianity, Baha’i and Hinduism.

“It’s just to bridge the gap and breakdown the borders between all of these different groups and to create togetherness instead of the other,” Carrie McMellon, senior psychology student, said.

Today is “Ask a ____ Day,” where participants can find out more about one of the groups and their beliefs.

McMellon said it’s a great opportunity for students that aren’t able to go to the panel. They can ask a member of each group any question to gain more knowledge and clarity about each faith.

Wednesday, the groups will have a donation drive from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Student Center, where they will collect nonperishable food and money for local food pantries.

Faculty experts will discuss and answer questions about different beliefs from each group represented at the panel Thursday at 7 p.m. in Smith Hall Room 154.

“The mission of the panel and of the week is to promote understanding and tolerance through knowledge and cultural awareness,” McMellon said.

Maggie Capehart, director of events for Marshall’s Secular Student Alliance, said under-represented minority groups are just looking to have a voice where their ideas can be heard and understood.

“There seems to be a rise of fear and hatred out of misunderstanding in the U.S.A. in general, so we’d like to try to help combat that,” Capehart said.

Hunter Ellis can be contacted at [email protected]