Spirituality & Religious Life at RIT cultivates engaged and vibrant religious, secular, and spiritual communities on campus that explore deep questions of purpose, meaning, and value.
Spirituality & Religious Life welcomes all students, families, faculty, and staff grappling with deep questions of purpose, meaning, and value. Our vision is for every member of our campus to experience the welcome, caring, and fun of a supportive community that enables them to grow into their best selves and put their values to work in the world. This includes helping people understand, appreciate, and work well with those different from oneself in religious, secular, or spiritual worldview and connect with off-campus religious, secular, and spiritual communities.
Exploration – We encourage people to grapple with deep questions of purpose, meaning, and value, to explore what life means to them, why we are all here, and what we should do about it. We create times and spaces for the exploration of existential, philosophical, spiritual, religious, and ethical questions that get to the heart of who we are, where we come from, and where we are going. As a program within a non-sectarian institution of higher education, Spiritual & Religious Life approaches this exploration as essential for the transition into adulthood and as part of a lifelong path.
Community – We believe that the deepest personal and spiritual exploration happens within a welcoming, caring, and fun community. Communities provide ways to approach, explore, and answer deep questions of purpose, meaning, and value. They help define how to put values to work in the world, through worship, service, and ethics. RIT supports specific religious communities, such as Roman Catholics and Zen Buddhists, ecumenical and pan-denominational communities such as Cru and Hillel, and student clubs not affiliated with any particular religious or spiritual tradition who, nevertheless, grapple with deep questions. Within Spirituality & Religious Life you can find (or make!) a fun, caring, and welcoming community.
Wellbeing – Spirituality has been a key source of resilience and wellbeing throughout human history. We foster opportunities for people to explore how their spirituality (including religious practice) supports their work in the world and ability to cope with major life transitions, relationships with others, stress, and life’s inevitable catastrophes.
Pluralism – We all live and work in a religiously/spiritually plural world and a rapidly globalizing society that brings us into frequent and repeated contact with those whose worldviews are different from our own. Pluralism is the belief that this is not only inevitable, but it is also good. A commitment to pluralism entails a mandate to welcome that diversity of worldview and understand it, both as an institution and as individuals within that institution. We therefore foster religious literacy for all students, faculty, and staff, and inclusive policies and practices at RIT that enable all members of our campus community to observe their religious/spiritual practices and holidays. This value is entirely compatible with RIT’s commitment to difference, diversity, equal opportunity, and non-discrimination, though we recognize that it may also lead to tension between communities with opposing worldviews or differing practices. Whenever this occurs, we strive to help individuals and communities increase understanding and achieve reasonable accommodation for differences.
- Support services and programs
- Support religious, secular, and spiritual programs and services on campus
- Help students to discover and access programs and services in the Rochester area
- Reach out to nonreligious students to support conversations on purpose, meaning, and value
- Assess outcomes and needs, improve programs, and work to fill “gaps”
- Promote campus-wide wellness and resilience
- Provide compassionate listening, pastoral care, and spiritual counseling
- Maintain and provide comprehensive information about assistance for a variety of human crises
- Assist in campus-wide crisis, trauma, and disaster response
- Celebrate life cycle events and memorialize those who have passed
- Promote religious literacy and interfaith dialogue and service
- Bring together traditions for dialogue on topics of common interest
- Promote accommodation for religious holidays and customs among faculty and staff
- Promote a practical working knowledge of other religions
- Promote values-driven and purposeful work in the world
- Foster student leaders competent to engage diverse others
- Provide service opportunities that put values to work and gives back to the community
- Explore the relationships between religious, secular, and spiritual values and chosen vocations or life goals
If you are an RIT student or employee, you can stay connected to SRL through our Campus Groups main page and subpages. By becoming a member of one or more of these pages, you will automatically be added to email lists and get regular updates about activites and events anytime you log into Campus Groups or use the Campus Groups app on your phone.
About Our Language
Religious: of a recognized religious tradition with a defined system of belief, doctrine, worship, and organizational structure; e.g., Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Baha’i.
Secular: of a particular philosophical or ideological tradition with a documented system of thought and behavior centralized around the meaning of existence, knowledge, ethical norms, or questions of value and purpose; e.g., atheism, humanism, stoicism, skepticism. (This category does not include political or esthetic philosophy, though these may have bearing one’s views.)
Spiritual: of or affecting the spirit or nonphysical needs of human beings and/or embracing beliefs in supernatural beings or phenomena with or without defined systems of doctrine or worship; e.g. New Age, transcendentalism, Neo-Vedanta, animistic and shamanistic beliefs and practices.
The unifying foundation beneath the different religious, secular, and spiritual communities supported by Spirituality & Religious Life is that they are all concerned with deep questions of the meaning, value, and purpose of existence, whether explored individually or collectively. They all approach questions about why and how humanity exists and many have developed practices to help human beings cope with and respond to the various situations in which we find ourselves. While these categories and their constituents have been neatly divided above, we recognize that most people exist with a blend (sometimes subconscious) of religious, secular, and spiritual beliefs and practices. Spirituality & Religious Life supports individuals who claim multiple religious belonging, hold non-conforming or even paradoxical views, and those who eschew religion or spirituality altogether.