The Interfaith Student Council (ISC) is the University Chaplaincy's main undergraduate student advisory and programming board. It is composed of Interfaith Representatives (or their proxies) from the undergraduate religious and philosophical communities at Tufts. The ISC meets weekly during term. While the ISC is limited to formal representatives from Tufts' religious and philosophical communities, we are open to at-large members. Moreover, students who are in becoming involved in interfaith work more broadly are encouraged to join COFFEE, an interfaith collective which meets on Monday nights and CAFE interfaith student Pre-Orientation program. For more information, please contact the University Chaplain, The Reverend Elyse Nelson Winger.
The Interfaith Student Council (ISC) is the peer leadership group for the Tufts University Chaplaincy and is a council of student leaders and representatives from undergraduate religious and philosophical communities on the Tufts campus. The council addresses interfaith engagement on several levels: interpersonal and as representatives of individual communities, as well as with the larger Tufts community and beyond. We seek to create a space for individual, active multifiath understanding and engagement among our council members and for anyone else seeking interfaith resources on campus. For the communities we represent, the council facilitates communication, support, and collaboration.
Through our communities and as a council, we seek to foster active interfaith engagement on campus with the Tufts University Chaplaincy and through campus programs. We also strive to promote and coordinate activism and service, including but not limited to serving our local community, partnering with other universities’ interfaith groups, and responding to global issues. Ultimately, the ISC acts to create a welcoming and pluralistic campus climate at Tufts that encourages interfaith dialogue, questioning, learning, and action.
Reflections from ISC 2022-2023 student leaders
“The Interfaith Student Council has been an incredible opportunity to learn to reflect upon our own beliefs and the beliefs of others with a sense of curiosity and reverence that I’ve never experienced before. It’s a space in which we can be our full, intentional selves— and in return, we get the opportunity to be receptive to our fellow council members and find the commonality in all of our experiences as humans. We take this commonality and channel it into an event or gathering that everyone is welcome to, so that others can feel the same joyous and friendly energy that we curate in our meetings (with snacks provided, of course!)” - Kate Beveridge '25 (Humanist Community at Tufts)
Kate Beveridge (right) with Ayub Nur, Lena Leavit, Julia Appel on our Pilgrimage of Sacred Sites on Campus Fall 2022
“ISC holds significant meaning for me because it has provided me with a valuable opportunity to engage and learn about various faiths present on our campus. As a board member of the Hindu Student Association, it is easy for me to become engrossed in organizing our own events and interacting primarily with our fellow members. However, this narrow focus can sometimes prevent me from fully experiencing and appreciating the diverse range of activities of different faith communities on campus. Through our weekly meetings, I learn so much about different traditions and events that are happening. ISC also facilitates events such as the Food & Faith event. Here we talked about how food is important to our faith and how it has connected us to family, friends, or people we have just met.” - Raaj Pednekar '25 (Hindu Students Association)
Raaj and friends at Food and Faith May 2023
“The(Interfaith Student Council/Interfaith Ambassador Retreat was life changing, so cute! Our graduate intern Francesca had prepared an exercise about rest, and the lack thereof in our daily college lives. Mixing politics and performance, that activity made me see how an interfaith practice can be crafted around values of art and social-awareness I deeply resonate with. I hope to take this practice further with me in other groups I'm part of.” -
- Muri Mascarenhas '24 (Tufts Buddhist Mindfulness Sangha)
Muri crafting on retreat
List of Groups Historically Represented on the Interfaith Student Council
Baha'i Students Association
C. Stacey Woods Programming Board
CAFE Student Organization (Interfaith)
Catholic Community at Tufts
Chabad at Tufts University
Humanist Community at Tufts
Latter-day Saints Students Association
Muslim Students Association
Non‐denominational Christian Fellowship
Protestant Students Association
Sikh Students Association
Tufts Adventist Christian Fellowship
Tufts Hindu Students Association
Tufts Buddhist Mindfulness Sangha
Tufts Orthodox Christian Fellowship
Tufts University Unitarian Universalists
Background and Initiatives
The ISC was established in Fall 2013 as a council including formal representation from all of the religious and philosophical student organizations on campus (as requirement of their constitutions), and it meets weekly during the academic year to build positive relationships among Tufts' diverse religious and philosophical communities as well as to promote a spiritually pluralistic campus climate at Tufts through advising, programming, and initiatives. Listed below are some of highlights of the ISC’s initiatives:
Tufts Interfaith Student Council Facebook Page. Like to stay current about events.
Interfaith Sowing and Growing (Fall 2018) - An opportunity to enjoy conversation and meet people from different religious and philosophical backgrounds by planting seeds and reflecting on the upcoming year.
Interfaith Jeopardy (Fall 2017) - An evening of dinner and answering faith-based questions.
On-campus ISC Retreats (Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2017) - The University Chaplaincy has brought new ISC Representatives together early in fall semester to build community, learn about religious and philosophical diversity and pluralism, and set goals for the upcoming year to advance the mission of the ISC.
Interfaith Awareness Month (Spring 2018) - The University Chaplaincy and the ISC worked with over 10 of Tufts’ religious and philosophical communities to intentionally open up one of their weekly gathering times so that other students could observe, participate, and ask questions. The month concluded with an Interfaith Brunch in order to build community and reflect on the experience.
Spring 2018 #TuftsInterfaithMonth Photo Campaign. Photos here.
The Language of Prayer: Exploring our Linguistic Connections to Faith (Spring 2018) - Ever had to suffer through learning a foreign language in religious school? Ever wondered how the languages we speak impact our relationship to religion? Ever thought about what it means to pray or experience prayer in a language that you don't fully understand?
Interfaith Conferences (Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2018) - The University Chaplaincy has sent ISC representatives to interfaith student conferences, including the Coming Together 7 conference at Yale University in Spring 2015, the New England Interfaith Student Summit at Northeastern University in Spring 2016, and the Boston Interfaith Leadership Initiative (BILI) Conference in Spring 2018. These conferences are opportunities for students to connect with interfaith leaders from other campuses and to share ideas about advancing this work at Tufts.
EarthFest 2019, a free annual event on the Academic Quad to celebrate sustainability in the community in honor of Earth Day. The event included live music, a vegetarian cookout provided by the GreEco Reps, a clothing exchange hosted by the Eco Reps, and Interfaith Student Council and the University Chaplaincy hosted a table. The Interfaith Student Council and University Chaplaincy asked students, staff, and community members to reflect on their values and why they want to live sustainably. Photos here.