WLU Should Offer More Religious Organizations

By Rick Tyler, Contributing Writer

West Liberty University strives to have a diverse and complex campus, but in some ways it stops short of perfect. While WLU offers a good number of clubs and organizations to become a part of, the campus’ religious side is sorely lacking. There aren’t many groups at West Liberty that allow less mainstream religions a place to worship in peace, and it should be our goal as a campus to be as inclusive and diverse as we can.

The three major religious organization at West Liberty would be the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Catholic Campus Ministries, and the Protestant Campus Ministries. Christianity, Protestantism, and Catholicism are three of the largest Western religions, and it is fantastic that they have a place on campus to worship, but they aren’t the only religious groups on campus.

What about our Muslim students? The Buddhists? Other religious followers? Sadly, these students don’t have any organization or place where they can meet up and communicate as a group. Here at West Liberty, these followers are not offered a chance to have a weekly meeting because no religious clubs specifically made for them exists.
“I pray twice a day and usually back home I do it with a group of people. Here, I just do it by myself in a dorm room,” said Mo Sankoh, a Muslim student attending West Liberty.

“There would probably be more clubs made specifically for Muslims, Buddhists, etc. But there are not that many here on campus,” said Abu Maafala, director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Abu Maafaka offers a valid point. Demographically, Christians and Catholics dominate the area and it makes more sense to have clubs that match up to the region. With that being said, that doesn’t mean that that West Liberty shouldn’t offer clubs for other religions. If we want to be a melting pot of diversity than we need to open ourselves up to more religious diversity to attract other students and cultures to come to WLU.

West Virginia University, for example, offers a much broader variety in terms of religious clubs. Clubs for Muslims, Rohr Chabad Jewish, and other clubs are offered for students of those faiths to get together and enhance their knowledge and understanding of their beliefs, and to provide a safe place for them to gather and enjoy themselves. Consequently, their campus has a 32 percent higher diversity rate than West Liberty does.

So yes, the argument could be made that not enough Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist students on campus to validate creating new religious clubs. However, it can also be said that if these clubs were created, the campus might be able to attract more diverse students. Many young high school students who are looking at colleges that interest them, they might choose one where their religious beliefs will allow them a place to meet similar, like-minded individuals.

When it comes to creating clubs, that isn’t the school’s responsibility to do, but rather the students. And creating one of these clubs is relatively easy. Remember, however, a club needs at least five members to get started. The first step one needs to consider is what club they wish to make, and it’s purpose. It can be a Koran Study group, or a Buddhist Meditation group, or anything in between. Then, once a goal for club members has been decided, the club organizer needs to find an advisor for the new club. Any professor may be a club’s advisor. After a professor is picked to be the advisor, the next step is to complete the Student Organization Registration Form on the WLU website. After this, an Officer Roster Form needs to be created. You can find more detailed information here.