Earth Day was an interfaith day of celebration and activity this year at the University of Notre Dame. The Interfaith Notre Dame Initiative (INDI), sponsored by the Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion in partnership with the Building Interfaith Leadership Initiative (BILI) of Hebrew College and Interfaith America was pleased to host an interfaith tree planting ceremony on Friday, April 21, 2023. For the event, students, faculty, and staff gathered near the north entrance of the Duncan Student Center on the University’s campus – where they planted a tree, heard from spiritual voices of unique faith traditions, and viewed posters that offered information related to different faith traditions’ views on how best to care for our common planet.
The planting of a tree was symbolic of the University’s shared commitment to interfaith conversation, understanding, and belonging that will bloom and develop over time in the campus community. As an initiative of the Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion, the ultimate goal for the Interfaith Notre Dame Initiative (INDI) is to foster community, learning, understanding, and empathy among students on Notre Dame’s campus in an intentional space where interfaith conversations and connections are encouraged and celebrated.
The Interfaith Notre Dame Initiative is a collaboration with students of varying faiths, religious traditions, and worldviews and is the beginning of an interfaith program that is inclusive, respectful, and collaborative. It recognizes interfaith conversation and shared undertakings are imperative to achieving societal goals of deeper understanding, trust, and mutual respect for one another. It aims to create an open and supportive space (both physical and metaphorical) for students of any and all faiths, beliefs, religious affiliations, traditions, and worldviews to come together in a place where inter-religious conversation is fostered and encouraged.