At the University Chaplaincy, we are excited to welcome the Class of 2024 to our community. Look through this page and our other virtual outreach platforms to meet some of our staff, get to know the variety of religious and philosophical student organizations at Tufts, and see how the University Chaplaincy is engaged with the wider Tufts community.
Hear how current Tufts students first connected with the University Chaplaincy, and why they’ve stayed involved with our office, in the video below. See more testimonials from our student community here.
The University Chaplaincy
The University Chaplaincy is a dynamic hub supporting religious, spiritual, ethical, and cultural life for all members of the Tufts community. Find our complete mission statement and how we accomplish these goals here.
Spiritual Interests Survey
We facilitate the annual Spiritual Interest Survey for all incoming undergraduate and graduate students to get an overview of the demographics of incoming Tufts students in terms of their religious and philosophical affiliations. This survey helps us design programming throughout the year that is relevant and responsive to the diversity of our community. You can find demographics from our Spiritual Interests surveys over the last five years here.
This graph demonstrates that Tufts University holds a great deal of religious and philosophical diversity within one community, which has influenced our students’ experiences and the opportunities that our office supports.
This graph illustrates that Tufts University has a great deal of religious and philosophical diversity within one community. This impacts students’ experiences on campus and informs the kinds of opportunities our office supports.
The University Chaplaincy runs signature programming throughout the year. These are designed to invite wide multi-faith participation and emphasize community building and a concern for the common good. We have highlighted a sample of the programs that our office supports, but we continue to develop new programming to meet student needs.
More information about each of these programs can be found at the links below:
10/31/2018 – Medford/Somerville, Mass. – The annual Goddard Chapel Midnight Halloween Concert on October 31, 2018. (Katlyn Kreie for Tufts University)
University Chaplaincy Music Program
Thomas Dawkins, our Music Director, provides music for the Protestant Evening Worship, key university events including Matriculation, Baccalaureate, and Commencement, as well as performing and organizing concerts in Goddard Chapel.
See more about the Music Program here, or check out the most recent newsletter.
Fall 2019 Wonderwell Retreat organized by the Buddhist Chaplaincy. One example of what all our religious groups take part in annual or biannual retreats. This time off-campus offers our communities a chance to gather and deepen their own practice or understanding of their traditions.
In her letter to the incoming class of 2023, Catholic Chaplain Lynn Cooper shared her hopes for the Catholic community at Tufts: “I support the sacramental, spiritual, and ‘searching’ lives of students—those who identify as Catholic and all who are interested or hungry for meaning. Our community is constantly asking what it means to be Catholic and spiritually-rooted in college and specifically at Tufts.” More information from the Catholic Chaplaincy can be found on its Instagram and in the Catholic newsletter. Lynn also works closely with the student-led Catholic Community at Tufts.
Death Café in Fall of 2019, hosted by the Humanist, Buddhist, and Hindu communities. One key program organized by the Humanist Chaplaincy and Humanist Community at Tufts in recent years has been the “Death Cafe.” This is designed to be a space where students from across our communities can discuss different understandings and experiences of death.
Walker Bristol, our Humanist Chaplain, supports community members who don’t identify with traditional religion (e.g. non-religious, atheist, agnostic, “Nones”), but who want the kind of support, community, resources, and programming the University Chaplaincy offers. With the Humanist Community at Tufts, they support Humanist life on-campus and in the broader community.
Rabbi Naftali Brawer was appointed Tufts’ Jewish Chaplain and Neubauer Executive Director of Tufts Hillel in 2018. Hillel is a major center for Jewish life at Tufts. They provide robust programming and support for students throughout the year. More information and virtual programming can be found on their Facebook.
Abdul-Malik Merchant, Tufts Muslim Chaplain, creates gatherings for Muslims of all backgrounds. As with each of our specific chaplaincies, events are open to all. Whether you are interested in learning more about Islam or building connections with the Muslim community at Tufts, you are welcome. Abdul-Malik Merchant works closely with Tufts Muslim Student Association (MSA).
Interfaith Field Trip to St. Paul’s Cathedral, 2019. For the past three years, the Tufts Muslim and Protestant Chaplaincies have cosponsored a field trip to Boston. Students visit the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul across from Boston Common. This Cathedral has a long-standing relationship with a local Muslim Community who uses the space for their Jum’ah Friday prayers.
The Reverend Daniel Bell is an ordained Episcopal Priest and Tufts’ Protestant Chaplain. The Protestant Chaplaincy and the Protestant Students Association (PSA) strive to be a radically welcoming and inclusive community. Our Chaplain hosts a variety of programs to meet the spiritual needs of our students across mainline Protestant denominations. Read more about the Protestant Chaplaincy in their newsletter.
Associated Student Communities
In addition to our specific associated Chaplaincies, there are many student groups that support the diverse religious and philosophical communities at Tufts. Some examples include the Hindu Student Council, Chabad at Tufts, COFFEE Interfaith Student Coalition, and Alt-J (an alternative Jewish community). You can find out more on the complete list of our Student Communities. While these communities don’t have a specific chaplain associated with them, our staff supports them by providing access to resources and connecting them with spiritual or programmatic support as needed.
For a full presentation of these materials, please see here for our session, “Tufts University Chaplaincy: Multi-faith Community and Interfaith Collaboration,” during Tufts Jumbo Month 2020.