Humanist Chaplain guides non-religious USC students

first_imgJustin Chapman | Daily TrojanA secular affair · Bart Campolo, whose father was Bill Clinton’s spiritual adviser, serves as chaplain and adviser of the Secular Student Fellowship.The USC campus boasts more than 80 religious organizations for students, with chaplains to supervise nearly all of them, but only one caters to the ever-growing community of nonbelievers.The Secular Student Fellowship of USC, which meets at 7 p.m. every Monday in room 203B at the University Religious Center, is a “friendly, diverse community of undergraduates and graduate students engaged in an ongoing conversation about how to apply reason and science to live better lives and build better societies,” according to its page on the Office of Religious Life’s website. The group’s adviser is Bart Campolo, USC’s first Humanist Chaplain, a volunteer position he created two years ago.In his role as Humanist Chaplain, Campolo counsels students who don’t believe in God. He is on campus most days of the week, in his office at URC 203A. On any given day he interacts with about three or four students.“I’m like the rabbi/priest/minister/imam to all the students who don’t believe in God,” Campolo said. “If someone’s dad gets diagnosed with cancer and they’re trying to make sense of it, or someone’s having a hard time making friends on campus, or a senior doesn’t know what they’re going to do after they graduate, they come talk to me.”Campolo, 53, is the son of famous evangelical preacher Tony Campolo, who served as former President Bill Clinton’s spiritual adviser. Bart Campolo himself spent many years as a public and influential evangelical Christian leader, but began having doubts about his own faith. After suffering a concussion from a bike accident, he decided at age 51 that he no longer believed in God. He has since devoted himself to secular humanism, which he defines as “creating a community where people pursue love and goodness collectively on the basis of reason.”“My position is supervised by the dean of religious life because he wants me here,” Campolo said. “The dean understands that I’m trying to help students answer some of life’s ultimate questions using science and reason instead of supernaturalism, but that I’m still a religious leader. I’m still pursuing: ‘Where do we come from? What happens when we die? What’s the basis of good and evil? What makes something right or wrong? How do you make the most of this life? How do you deal with your finitude in the midst of a huge universe?’”A recent Pew Research Center study found that more Americans than ever are increasingly becoming less religious, especially millennials. While no data currently exists for how many people on campus are religious versus nonreligious according to the Office of Religious Life, Campolo said his anecdotal experience tells him that about half of the students he talks to around campus don’t identify with a religion or don’t believe in God.“How many people here believe in a magical god who actually intervenes in the lives of human beings? I’m going to guess about 40 to 50 percent,” Campolo said. “USC tends to skew more towards the religious, and yet, the faculty is a whole other story. Very few professors are people of faith, and yet very many of them are professors because they want to contribute to the advancement of life.”Campolo said that his goal on campus is not to criticize religions or religious people, but rather to create a positive community for those who don’t happen to believe in God.“A lot of atheist groups I researched had very negative agendas,” said Campolo. “They were like, ‘Let’s talk about another reason it’s stupid to believe in God,’ or ‘Let’s really focus on the separation of church and state because I’m sick of ‘In God we trust’ on the currency.’ You can’t build a movement around all this negative stuff. Ridiculing religion only gets people to double down. Maybe it’d be better if we go build a community where people could pursue love and goodness in a rational way and don’t have to believe in anything.”Now in his third year as Humanist Chaplain, Campolo has found that many students are discovering and valuing his services.“USC is a big, busy place,” Campolo said. “A lot of people don’t feel like they have a lot of friends on campus. They don’t feel connected. They don’t feel like anybody really cares.”That’s why Campolo and his wife started hosting dinners for the secular community on campus in the URC dining room every other Sunday, a tradition that continues this semester.“Since ‘non-religious’ is the fastest growing demographic in the United States, we think it’s important that a community like this exists to bring us together to pursue goodness without a god, which for many people is a novel concept,” said Katie Bolton, a junior majoring in environmental studies and NGOs and social change who serves as one of the leaders of the Secular Student Fellowship. “Bart is a true pioneer of this movement; he is able to inspire people like few others. I hope that more people will have the chance to know him like I do, because he has something to offer everyone. He just beams goodness to all who cross his path.”Fellow SSF leader Joseph Krieger, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, said having a Humanist Chaplain and a secular student organization on campus is “a huge comfort.”“There are so many people on campus who don’t believe in a god, but want to have conversations about how to make the world a better place, either through improving interpersonal relationships or supporting causes that we believe in,” Krieger said. “Bart’s intuition, foresight and understanding of how people think make him a master of relationships.”Campolo is also working with Irshad Manji, a senior fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy, to create a chapter of her Moral Courage Project on campus.Filmmaker John Wright is currently wrapping up a documentary about Campolo’s relationship with his father Tony following the revelation that he was no longer a Christian. The film, With Whom I Am Well Pleased, is expected to be released by the end of the year. The two Campolos are also working on a book together based on the same idea, due out early next year.“All these religions have endured for thousands of years, not because their narratives make any sense at all, because they don’t, but because they get together every week, they have cool rituals, they sing really well and they take care of each other,” Campolo said. “They endure despite their crazy narratives, not because of them. Secular humanists have a much better narrative, and every fact that gets discovered affirms that narrative. But we’ve got to build a better community.”last_img read more

SU looking for balance between improving serves, resting injured players

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 24, 2018 at 10:16 pm Contact Andrew: arcrane@syr.edu | @CraneAndrew During warmups before an Oct. 12 game against Miami, there was something different about Syracuse’s Santita Ebangwese. The senior was energetic as usual, dancing to “Titanium” by David Guetta and air guitaring to “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, but her right thigh and hip were wrapped tight with athletic tape.“I don’t even think about it when I’m playing,” she said. “They aren’t serious at all.”A week later against North Carolina, it was Aliah Bowllan who was injured. Head coach Leonid Yelin made a last-minute decision to sit SU’s libero to rest her elbow, he said. Her one-game absence turned into two when she missed Sunday’s game against North Carolina State. The injuries are beginning to accumulate for the Orange.After reaching the halfway point of conference play last weekend, Syracuse (12-6, 8-2 Atlantic Coast) finds itself fourth in the ACC. Its conference winning percentage of .800 through the first half of ACC play is its best since joining in 2013. In order for SU to continue winning, its injured players need to return and stay healthy. The Orange want to improve their serves and digs, and finding the right balance between rest and practice while injured, associate head coach Erin Little said, is the key.“I think every athlete understands that you’re never going to be 100 percent,” she said. “Every athlete deals with little pains, and it’s just part of being an athlete.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAt the beginning of the season, redshirt senior Christina Oyawale missed seven games with an ankle injury. Bowllan has now missed two because of her elbow. Ebangwese hasn’t missed any, but is still hindered by her thigh and hip.Ensuring that Syracuse’s players are eating healthy and getting enough sleep, among other treatments, helps the Orange practice through injuries, Little said. The Orange’s post game meal oftentimes includes containers of fruit.“We do still need to get reps in practice, and it’s all about management,” Little said. “I think they’ve learned how to balance the lifestyle of being a student-athlete.”Laura Angle | Digital Design EditorDuring the second half of ACC play, the Orange will spend a lot of time on in-game situations, searching for how they “click” together, Little said. At this point in the season, it’s expected that all of the basic skills are proficient. Now that SU’s figuring out, Little said, “can we use that skill?”On offense, the serve needs consistency. Little said the ratio of service errors to aces should be 1-to-1. Syracuse holds nearly a 2-to-1 ratio, though, with 151 service errors compared to 78 aces. Little called the serving “hit or miss.”On Sunday, the Orange had six aces, their second most of the season. They also had five service errors. Even though Yelin wants to keep the number down, he understands that SU can’t lay off the aggressive serve in fear of errors.“It was inconsistent,” Yelin said after the win over NC State. “We should be more consistent on the tough serve. We have to risk, but (it’s) different because there’s a stupid risk and a smart risk.”For the Orange to achieve their goal of playing in the NCAA tournament when December rolls around, they need to find the right balance between improving and resting their injured players.It involves a lot of athletic tape, rest, healthy foods and work in practice.“We’re just trying to perfect the things that we need to perfect,” Trotter said. “The things that aren’t clicking, that’s what we’re trying to fix.” Commentslast_img read more

Balfour golfers play 360 holes on ALS Longest Day of Golf fundraiser

first_imgThe two Balfour golfers played for 15 hours on the Balfour Golf Course to to raise awareness and funds for ALS, which is a rapidly progressive neuromuscular disease that can affect anyone at any time.The Balfour duo played from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and golfed a total of 360 holes.Combined, the golf professionals got 72 birdies and 6 eagles. The pair raised around $1,800 and are still accepting donations for the PGA of BC Golfathon for ALS.”It was a great day,” Wilkinson said.Balfour Golf Course is one of 37 golf courses located across BC participating in the PGA of B.C. Golfathon for ALS. On the longest day of daylight of the year, Craig Wilkinson and Braden Chown gained a few blisters on their golfing hands.last_img read more