JHU Chaplain Kathy Schnurr oversees the religious and spiritual life of the campus community, which includes 25 student religious groups. The Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith & Community Center is located at 3509 North Charles Street.
1. What are the trends in faith on campus?
Our student body is a microcosm of the world in general. Over the past 15 years, fewer students identify with religious traditions, but some seek transcendent experiences and spiritual purpose and meaning. Young adults, by and large, do not see the same value in institutional bodies as much as previous generations. Most students are still trying to figure out their religious or spiritual outlook.
2. What do they tend to be seeking?
They care about the world around them and want to be part of a community and engage in social justice and understanding. They grapple with the same issues most young people grapple with: “How do I make these traditions or practices or convictions my own?” They want to find their voice and place.
3. How do you help them get to that point?
We try to be companions to students along the way. We’re not just here to talk about religion or spiritual issues; we talk to them about how to get through their life experiences. We have all kinds of conversations to support them. The students
are our focus.
4. How do you engage students of all faiths?
I try to challenge them to draw on their traditions, teachings, and commitments. I know religion has not always been used for good, but it has, can, and should be used for great good in this world, and it’s incumbent for us to strive to do more of that.
5. Where do you feel is the most spiritual place on campus?
I don’t think there’s one place. I have those spiritual moments all over campus. But I do think the Interfaith Center is alive with all kinds of spirituality and religious practices. It’s incredible that for 97 years this building has been here as a sacred space for Baltimore and for this campus.
—Compiled by Alan H. Feiler