First-Ever Explorations Night Held

Students from the Lawrenceville community gathered on the terrace of the Irwin Dining Center to attend the first-ever Explorations Night from 5:30 PM to 6:45 PM this past Monday.

Students from the Lawrenceville community gathered on the terrace of the Irwin Dining Center to attend the first-ever Explorations Night from 5:30 PM to 6:45 PM this past Monday.

The event was primarily organized by the Religious Life Council, and Director of Spiritual and Religious Life Sue Anne Steffey Morrow H’12 oversaw the event. Explorations organizations presented at the fair included Yoga and Mindfulness and student-run religious clubs including Hindu Student Organization, Jewish Student Organization, and Orthodox Christian Fellowship. Students also learned the process of and criteria for creating their own Explorations from the Explorations Council—a committee comprised of three members from the Religious Life Council (RLC), Anika Bagaria ’20, Hamza Mian ’21, and Danica Bajaj ’21, and three from the Diversity Council, Esha Ahktar ’21, Deven Kinney ’20, and Carolyn King ’20.

On the overall significance of the program, Morrow said, “Explorations gives students a chance to pause, to think, to practice their religious tradition, to observe someone else’s religious tradition, to have fun, to learn, and to grow. It’s also an opportunity to sit still and create spaces of quiet and reflection as well as learn about different cultures and identities.” Recognizing that religious and diversity-related clubs are often overlooked at Club Night because of the evening’s hectic atmosphere, the Explorations Council designed a student-run event solely focused on Explorations offerings. Although the Council representatives played a critical role in organizing the logistics of the event, the individual cultural clubs and religious affinity groups primarily determined how they wanted to pitch their Explorations offerings. Clubs that have experienced less coverage were also present at the fair, such as Lawrenceville Stories led by Jayden McMillan ’20 and Nick Healy ’20 and Fellowship of Christian Athletes led by Tim Johnson ’20 and Isabelle Monaghan ’20. Throughout the night, students also enjoyed a variety of snacks and refreshments as they ventured between the booths.

On the importance of embracing discomfort through the program, Morrow said, “To learn about other religions and cultures is what it means to be educated. It’s what it means to be a global citizen. To be able to get inside of someone else’s religious tradition is a way for us to deepen our understanding of these practices and also create peace.”

Expressing similar sentiments, Akhtar said, “I think Explorations Night really speaks to Lawrenceville being one big community. In this ‘VILLEage,’ we have students from so many different spiritual, religious, and cultural backgrounds, so hopefully, this event promotes the idea that diversity at Lawrenceville does not have to be limited to your own background or experience and [that] there are so many other religions and experiences [...] that students are excited to share.”

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