What do you believe? Assembly Series wants to know at the Oct. 15 Assembly Series

"This I Believe:The State of Spiritual Life at Washington University

At any given time, thousands of people from all walks of life converge at Washington University, and together they form our campus community. Each brings his or her unique mix of cultural, familial, social, economic, educational, and religious influences that form the basis of his or her belief system. That belief system may or may not be spiritual in nature, and may be in a state of flux, especially for freshmen finding themselves in a secular academic environment for the first time.

To explore the state of spiritual life at Washington University, two of its many campus ministers, Rabbi Avi Orlow of Hillel, and Reverend Gary Braun of the Catholic Student Center, will share their beliefs and guide an open discussion for the Assembly Series. The event, free and open to the public, will be held on Monday, October 15 at 4 p.m. in Graham Chapel. Amy Heath-Carpentier, a career development specialist with the Career Center, will moderate.

Orlow and Braun encourage campus members to begin thinking about their own set of beliefs — religious, secular and anything in between — before the forum so there can be meaningful dialogue between the campus ministers and the students at the actual event. The forum itself will leave lots of time for audience participation. Both will contribute to a Student Life op-ed article for the Oct. 12 issue, and encourage others to contribute their submissions, either through Student Life or at the forum.

“We invite all thoughts and beliefs to be heard,” said Orlow. “A belief system can be completely devoid of religious or spiritual characteristics or deeply religious in nature. We want to create an honest dialogue.”

After Orlow and Braun deliver their opening comments, moderator Heath-Carpentier will invite comments and questions from the audience.

Orlow is the Rabbi of St. Louis Hillel, an organization which seeks to maximize opportunities for Jewish students to explore, celebrate and sanctify life in a Jewish way. Located in the Alvin & Jeanette Goldfarb Hillel building on the Washington University campus, Hillel serves students from all area colleges and universities.

Braun has directed the Catholic Student Center, called the Newman Center, since 1991. CSC serves as a community not only for Catholic formation but also as a welcoming community for students of all faiths.

As a career development specialist, Heath-Carpentier is influenced by her diverse professional background includes academic advising, software development, and teaching religious studies, women’s studies, and history at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

For more information on this or future Assembly Series programs, please visit the Web site at http://assemblyseries.wustl.edu, or call 314-935-4620.