“Better Together” event centers on faith inclusivity

Photo by Tori D'Amico

Ramapo prides itself on diversity in many ways, and student faith coordinator of the Civic and Community Engagement Center Niara Rowe is working to bring students of different religious groups together.

Rowe, 20 and a junior at Ramapo, shared how faith has played a major role in her life. She applied for this position to continue that involvement.

As a faith coordinator, she works with the five different religious groups on campus and coordinates with students who want to start a new one. Currently, Ramapo has the Muslim Student Association, Newman Catholic, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, Hillel and YoungLife.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, she hosted an event called “Better Together” in Padovano Commons to open up discussion among students about the power of coming together. “Better Together” is described as an interfaith initiative, which encourages “better together days” to encourage collaboration among students, regardless of faith.

“We can accept everyone’s beliefs, everyone's views, to actually make a change,” Rowe said. “We’re greater in numbers.”

“Everyone uses their religion to bring themselves up, and so there’s no reason to tear each other down when everyone’s purpose is to lift themselves up,” Rowe said. “So we’re going to come together, and create change.”

All of Ramapo’s religious groups advertise themselves as welcoming of all faiths, but Rowe said that many students are not aware and shy off from joining. 

“It’s easier to make a change on a smaller level, and Ramapo could be considered a smaller level,” Rowe said. She remembered the day students came together to petition for a snow day and compared it to the change they could make for bigger causes.

“There are so many things that everyone says, ‘I wish this was better,’ but no one says anything, no one tells anyone,” Rowe said. “If we come together, we could start telling people and making changes.”

Rowe’s hope is that students of faith organizations will be able to come together through commonalities, in order to help bolster changes like creating a greener campus.

Though Better Together week just passed, coming together is a constant effort for Rowe. To learn more, or establish a faith-based group on campus email faith@ramapo.edu.